What do snake tracks look like: Identification & Pictures

snake tracks
Snakes leave tracks when they cross a soft or sandy path that are either straight lines or wavy. Usually, they are furrows in the ground that can be half an inch or wider. Their tracks can be straight lines or undulating.

There’s nothing as startling as coming across the sinuous lines left behind. Serpents around the globe tend to instill people with intense feelings.

However, some snakes found in the Utah area can swim and hunt amphibians and fish underwater. Snakes are cold-blooded reptiles that often rest on pavements, dirt roads, and rocks, while sunning themselves.

In this guide, you’ll learn what snake tracks look like, how they move, and what to do if you identify them in your yard or garden. Read on!

Do snakes leave tracks?

Yes, snake tracks or snake footprints are known as lateral undulation.

Snakes will leave tracks under certain conditions as not all snakes move in the same side-to-side manner. However, those that do, like the desert rattlesnake or the sidewinder rattlesnake found in North America, will leave a wavy track.

Other larger and heavier-bodied snakes will leave rectilinear locomotion that is more or less a straight line. These snakes use their belly scales to traction.

Snake tracks identification

To identify snake tracks, you must first understand how they move. There are five main snake locomotion types on land:

  • Side-winding
  • Lateral undulations
  • Rectilinear
  • Concertina
  • Side-pushing

Although there are five main types of snake movements, most species usually use one or two forms. In addition, under certain circumstances, snake tracks can be a combination of two different movements at the same time.

Some factors, determine the type of tracks left behind by snakes, including:

  • Body shape and size
  • Terrain, which includes the surrounding plants, soil type, overhead cover, slope, and rocks
  • Temperature of the air and the ground

Let’s look at the five types of snake locomotion.


This is one of the most popular snake tracks, as it’s the most dramatic in appearance. It is used by many snake species when crawling over unstable, slippery, or smooth surfaces.

A typical snake known for this movement is the sidewinder rattlesnakes in North African and Middle-eastern viper species living in regions of extensive sand dunes.

In this movement, the snakes send a wave down their body, rolling it from head to tail, with parts lifting off the ground. The track is usually proportionate to the snake’s length.

The movement is one of the most effective over loose sand, especially for the heavier and shorter-bodied snakes. When the substrate is fine, the tracks will be fresh, and you can see the belly scales.

Side-winding Snake Tracks over sand dunes
Side-winding Snake Tracks

Lateral undulations

Lateral undulation is one of the most classic snake tracks and is familiar to most people.

In this motion, the snake sends waves of muscular action that travel down the length of the body towards the tail. When they contact an object like a plant stem, stone, stick, or a piece of uneven ground, the part of the body closest to the object exerts a force against the object, deforming locally around it.

The general movement will be forward if the snake pushes against several objects. Moreover, the belly scales work on the substrate below, helping grip as the snake tries to push forward.

Lateral Undulation Snake Tracks
Lateral Undulation Snake Tracks


In this locomotion, the snake tracks are more or less a straight line.

It is usually used by larger and heavier-bodied snakes and in areas of relatively open ground. In this movement, the snake uses its belly scales to move.

It moves by lifting the belly scales slightly from the ground, pulling them forward, and then pulling them downwards and backward. This movement is akin to the slow, flowing motion of a caterpillar.

In this movement, you won’t be able to see any belly scales because the forward sliding movement covers up the scale tracks.

Rectilinear Snake Tracks in red sand
Rectilinear Snake Tracks


In this motion, the snake leaves a different set of tracks altogether. It involves the snake pulling up its body into bends and straightening after the curves. It’s referred to as concertina, named after the musical instrument.

Snake incorporate the same quality of movement as the accordion or concertina, contracting and expanding. This gyration is most effective in narrow passages, tunnels, or climbing. You’ll rarely come across these tracks because they need a substrate present between the limited spaces.

Concertina Snake Tracks in sand
Concertina Snake Tracks


This locomotion type leaves uniquely broad, wide tracks. The movement is due to the snake forcefully pushing its body in large undulations in a sliding and sideways direction that moves the body widely across the ground.

This usually happens when a snake is frightened or disturbed while on a smooth surface and attempting to escape. The snake’s body pushes down with enough power to move it forward a little at a time. It usually is done with two-thirds or the rear half of the snake’s body.

Side Pushing Snake Tracks in sand
Side Pushing Snake Tracks

What to do if you identify snake tracks in your yard

Snakes can be hazardous to you and your pets. When you identify snake tracks in your yard, you need to think of how to get rid of them.

You can call a snake removal expert or DIY with natural repellents such as clove, cinnamon oil, vinegar, and sulfur. These natural remedies will help repel snakes from your yard. You can also fill unoccupied holes where snakes might hide in your yard.

Another deterrent method includes putting close-fitting walls or fences around ponds and other water sources. Finally, remember to remove debris, rockeries, log piles, and wood where snakes might find refuge on your property.


Joseph Wales is a professional SEO content writer specializing in pest control, varmint removal, pets, and everything in nature. When not publishing, he’s busy teaching college and university students how to write admission essays and structure their academic papers. Writing has always been his passion, and he spends most of his time outdoors with his two lovely daughters in his spare time. He is also a skilled farmer, always traveling to his rural home to check on the livestock and corn field when he has the time. Armed with hands-on experience, Joseph uses his SEO writing skills to communicate accurate and engaging information that will also be valuable and educational, adding to the value of his readers.

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