Glossy Swampsnake

Scientific Name
Liodytes rigida
Also Known As
Glossy Crayfish Snake
Northern and Central Florida
Life Expectancy
9 Years
The Glossy Swampsnake

Photo 79600693 © supremebananus, CC BY-NC

Glossy Swampsnake conservation status - Least Concern

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This Snake is Not Venomous

The Glossy Swampsnake in Central Florida

The glossy swampsnake (Liodytes rigida) is a nonvenomous colubrid species indigenous to the subtropical wetlands of central and south Florida. Often overlooked due to their cryptic habits, glossy swampsnakes play an important role as both predator and prey in fragile aquatic ecosystems. This article provides identification tips, biology facts, and information on glossy swampsnake habitat and diet in central Florida.

Appearance and Identification

Adult Glossy Swampsnake

Adult Glossy Swampsnakes

  • Size: Adults average 20-26 inches (51-66 cm) in total length. The record is 33.5 inches (85 cm).
  • Color: Adults maintain the glossy gray, brown, or olive sheen with pale ventral scales. The blotches fade to speckles and spots.

  • Scales: Their scales retain a polished, glossy appearance due to microscopic ridges that disperse light. The divided anal plate persists.
  • Head: The adult head is elongate like the neck with a blunt rostrum and large eyes.
Juvenile Glossy Swampsnake

Photo 226890575 © Kaylyn Cullen, CC BY-NC

Juvenile Glossy Swampsnakes

  • Size: Hatchlings average 6-8 inches (15-20 cm) long. They reach around 16 inches (40 cm) by their first year.
  • Color: Juvenile glossy swampsnakes have tan, grayish, or olive brown backs with pale cream undersides. Dark blotches run along the back.
  • Scales: The smooth dorsal scales give hatchlings a glossy, iridescent sheen. The anal plate is divided.