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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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May 10, 2009 Flag

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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April 4, 20100 found this helpful

I have been catching snakes since I was a kid. If possible, I catch and release, or if possible leave the snake where it is at if it is not a danger to anyone. If I walk up on a snake and it is about to bite me then that is a different story. I also have a snake phobia but I tried to learn as much as I could about snakes to over come the phobia. I have been bit once and almost bit another time by small snakes. When I was a kid my girlfriends dad was a snake handler and bite number 201 got him the man he worked for got bit over 2,000 times before he died.

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September 2, 20150 found this helpful

We live in eastern North Carolina (zone 7a). This year we had two big black snakes in a hickory tree next to our deck, up about 40 feet. The larger of the two, which I assumed was the male, climbed the hickory to an abandoned squirrel nest. As he went over the rim of the neck, the second snake stuck her head up. He continued into the nest, and then the two of them came back out, twining around each other. The male eventually fell from the squirrel nest, luckily landing across a branch where he lay for almost a minute (catching his breath?) and then proceeded to climb back up to the female. Another day the same snake (more than 5 feet long!) climbed the same tree, checked out the squirrel nest (no one home!) and then crawled out on a branch and waited there for a few hours. I kept checking on him, and after about 4 hours, he'd gone on his way.

It's easy to tell that this is a non-venomous snake, because the venomous ones have vertical pupils and their heads are more wedge-shaped and heavy. A lot of non-venomous snakes have heads that are barely wider than their bodies and not wedge-shaped.

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Anonymous Flag
May 1, 20160 found this helpful

Indigo Snake

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May 1, 20160 found this helpful

Indigo Snake

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June 7, 2013 Flag
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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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June 8, 20130 found this helpful

It sounds like a FL Black Racer snake.

http://www.aaanimalcontrol.com/blog/floridablackracer.html

Generally these are harmless to you but they will eat squirrels, mice, and rats so if your cat is small you'll likely want to keep the cat indoors for it's protection. The presence of one in your garden means you have the much greater worry of a rodent infestation-these snakes go where the food is.

I lived in Melbourne, FL for several years in the 90s and about had heart failure one day when a curious Racer snake poked about 8" of it's upper body out of the pampas clump next to my mail box! They are active during the daylight hours and for a snake, rather comfortable about 'getting to know you'-not a shy snake at all!

Check with your co-operative extension office web pages for more info on the snake including how to discourage it from hanging at your house.

Whatever you do (and I agree that Caution is King here), please DO NOT kill it. The snake population of FL is dropping quickly but the rat population is unfortunately rising and one of the reasons is the human instinct to kill every snake for 200 miles.

I think I'd rather have snakes in the garden than rats, to be honest, and I hope you will agree.

The following is are links to your county extension office info pages re snakes in the garden:

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw258

http://hillsborough.ifas.ufl.edu/do ... n/factsheets/SnakeIdentification.pdf

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/UW/UW26000.pdf

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June 11, 20130 found this helpful

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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December 6, 2013 Flag
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It's black with red fleur de leis markings on its back.

By James from MS

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December 9, 20130 found this helpful

I 'googled' my state and snakes - a bunch of photos came up with, I guess, every snake native to Arkansas. The one I was seeking was not native but I finally found it on the internet (no one could identify it for me). I did not kill it - I hate to kill anything (except fire ants) and never saw it again. I think it might have been a pet... (not very big though - whew!) Good luck

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December 23, 20130 found this helpful

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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June 8, 2009 Flag
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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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June 9, 20090 found this helpful

I'm not 100% certain, but because it has a white mouth, it sounds like a cottonmouth snake - it's named "cottonmouth" because of the white mouth/throat. If so, it is VERY venomous! Cottonmouth (a/k/a "water moccasin") snakes are usually smaller than that, but it's possible you could have estimated its size incorrectly. It's hard to tell a snake's actual size, due to its coiling/slithering.

In any case, call your local wild animal control center, or the humane society about this. You don't want to be messing with this snake if it is, indeed, a cottonmouth. Even if it isn't that species, it's better to have an expert determine what it is.

Because, if it is a cottonmouth, you seriously do not want to be bitten by it. They'll usually try to escape rather than attack you (unless it's cornered, or if you step on it by accident). Talk to some knowledgeable people in your area, and find out what the snake is, and whether it can be relocated safely.

I love snakes, but I have a very healthy respect for them. Be careful. :-)

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June 9, 20090 found this helpful

I can't find a way to edit my post, so I'll post some additional info.

OK. I got conflicting info from different websites about this snake. One site said that the snake will flee rather than attack, but others say that this snake is aggressive, and will attack.

Here's the site, with pictures, which might help you identify the snake:

http://www.wf.net/~snake/moccasin.htm

It says that rare cottonmouths have been reported as being up to 6 feet long, so your friend might be dealing with a granddaddy of this species.

All the more reason to get in touch with animal control immediately. Good luck!

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June 12, 20090 found this helpful

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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April 16, 2010 Flag
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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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April 17, 20100 found this helpful

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

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May 10, 2009 Flag
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My husband found this house he wants to buy and the people around there said the only problem you might see a few black snakes! What can we do to get rid of them out of the trees and yard?

July 16, 2008 Flag
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My husband was trimming trees the other day and found a 1 foot long black snake laying on a branch in the tree. I wasn't aware that snakes hung out IN trees.

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