The website for the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is a reliable source for identification of all snake species found in Alabama. They provide names, photos and general information on every snake known to inhabit that state. Their local offices may provide printed identification guides to the public.
There are roughly 40 species of snakes inhabiting the state of Alabama. They live all over the state, from the Gulf Coast to the mountains in the north. Alabama is home to six species of venomous snakes; Eastern Coral Snake, Copperhead, Cottonmouth, Eastern Diamondback, Timber Rattlesnake and the Pygmy Rattlesnake are all found in various regions around the state. The others are mostly harmless to humans.
One way to tell a venomous from a non-venomous snake is by observing the pupil of the eye. In most domestic snake species in the U.S., venomous snakes have a "cats-eye" or slit-shaped pupil, and the non-venomous species have a round pupil. One exception to this rule is the coral snake, a venomous species with a round pupil. The coral snake is also the only venomous snake in Alabama that is not considered a pit viper, a classification that refers to their retractable, hollow fangs.