Identifying Black Snakes

Identifying a snake you have seen in your backyard or out hiking can be difficult. This is a guide about identifying black snakes.

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Black snakes are a good thing! It must be Spring as our Black Snake is back. Black snakes will keep your property clean of rodents as well as Starlings (bird) that nest around the roof area of your home. They, at least ours, is not aggressive at all. This year our buddy made his grand entry in our house, that we are remodeling. He/she was hanging by his/her tail over the back door, doing twists and turns like an acrobat.

Our Jack Russell Terrier discovered it first and started barking. Knowing it was the Black snake back, we just let it do it's thing and be on it's way. Later we saw it crawling around the gutters on our shed. Personally, I know a Black snake when I see one but I can certainly appreciate some people wouldn't have a clue what a Black snake looks like compared to a venomous snake, which brings me to my question.

Is it true that Black snakes are the only type snake that will crawl around house rafters or other high places in your house? I was told that venomous snakes are considered earth snakes that may crawl high on a mountain top but not in a home. If that is true, it may save many Black snakes lives if people knew that.

Please don't kill Black snakes as they are gentle and do a good job keeping unwanted rats, mice and yes those pesty birds called Starlings.

By Suzyspinkmoon from Clinton, TN.

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Indigo Snake

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I live in the Tampa, Florida area. Last year my white house cat got outdoors and just froze looking at something. Racing thru the flowerbed was a black snake, 4-5 ft long, with its head up like a periscope. It had the largest eyes I've ever seen, between nickel and quarter. Bright white cornea black iris. I have always had a snake phobia, but now I cannot even work in my flower beds. I hate that this snake controls my life. Please let me in on ID.

By Karen S from Lutz, FL

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One time I had a snake in my yard, I made a few phone calls and described the snake and was told he was a King Snake. I named him Elvis and he was seen in my yard now and then for a couple of years. Once I knew he was a helpful snake and not poisonous, we were able to co-exist easily!

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It's black with red fleur de leis markings on its back.

By James from MS

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When I found a snake I couldn't identify in my yard I called a local reptile store and they ID'd it as a king snake-a good guy so I named him Elvis and he hung around for a couple of years.

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I was at a friend's house and we saw a huge 6 foot ling black snake. We thought it was just a big, non-venomous black snake that eats mice and is native to the area, but then it opened it's mouth and had a pure white mouth or throat. By bass player from West Plains, MO

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A couple things about "your" black snake, one, was it slender, and did it have a long, slender tail to the tip? Two, could you tell if it had any sign of an underlying pattern, no matter how faint? The cottonmouth, or water moccasin, is rather thick bodied for it's length, has a thick tail that ends kind of abruptly. They are often slightly splotchy in color, not always black, sometimes dull brownish-black, and they have a back that could almost be described as having a ridge. One last thing, a slit eye (up and down slit) is an indication of poisonous snake in the US, and a round eye indicates something like a pine snake, black racer, etc. Hope that helps.

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What kind of Florida snake has a black body and a white head? I have a small one in my flower bed, and although I have seen many black snakes (nonpoisonous) over the years, I have never seen one with a white head. He was a cute little guy who watched my every move. If he is safe, I will leave him there, but if not, he has to go. Sometimes I will see a snake near the A/C drip pipe where they go to get water. I know the little snakes are beneficial to the garden, so I leave them there unless I know they are poisonous - then I would call Animal Control to get it out. Sorry I didn't take his picture to help identify him.

Hardiness Zone: 9a

Nan from Cocoa Beach, FL

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I am in panama and found such a critter under the front door of my house. I took a picture before I shooed him out. He was small and very cute so I took a picture but the locals tell me he is a 'Vibora Negro' which literally translated in Spanish means 'Black Snake'. They say he is deadly and has fangs but he looks more to me like if he is poisonous to be of the coral family judging by the rounded nose. Anyhow he scuttled off outside but I will post a picture so you can tell if it looks like the one you saw...cheers

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What type of snake is this? It is black with brown lines.

By Ricky from Houston, TX

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Go to -snake gallery- you might see it, good luck.

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Better Living Green Living WildlifeMay 31, 2013
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