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Black Snakes in Trees?

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. We are 30 minutes NE of San Antonio, Texas and I know we have coral and copperheads around here. I know there is also cottonmouths in the county but I thought they were only near water. We are in straight sand and hickory and oak trees, not much water but lots of leaves. I was wondering if anyone had any ideas of what kind of snake it could be. And how do i keep snakes out of my trees?

Thanks for any advice,



Black Snakes in Trees?

I think the type of snake you describe is what is called a rat snake. I have seen them here in Kentucky, also. They are considered helpful in keeping down the rodent population. They look so nasty and can be huge, but I've been told that they are not harmful. Just very ugly. And nasty. Hope that helps you. (12/28/2004)

Black Snakes in Trees?

It might be a king snake. Don't know if you have them there. They kill other snakes such as copperheads so you would definitely not want to kill it. They do hang out in trees. I hate snakes and know very little so this is just a possibility. (12/28/2004)

By Ann

Black Snakes in Trees?

My first thought was also that it may be a king snake! I hope it was and I'm sure that gave you quite the scare! I would peed my drawers! If it was indeed a baby king snake, Ann was correct, they DO kill other snakes. A good snake to have a round. (12/28/2004)


By homeschoolin_mum

Black Snakes in Trees?

Among our many animals are reptiles, including snakes. We do humane education about reptiles and do a rescue for unwanted reptiles. Anyway, being the mammal person I am, I asked my husband, the reptile expert. He knew right away what it was--and he smiled when I told him what I thought. I was right! I'm learning.

It is, indeed, a rat snake. They are arboreal, so you really can't keep them out of trees. They are not venomous, but all snakes can bite, if threatened.

We have a number of rat snakes, which my husband carefully handles with work gloves. He's never been bitten, but he doesn't handle them more than necessary. No--they do not roam our house. They are kept in suitable enclosures and do well.


There is probably a local herpetological society in various Texas locales. Please don't kill them. They are valuable to the environment and really don't want to tangle with humans. If worse comes to worse, ship them to us and we'll find good homes for them or put them in a release program.

By writergal

Black Snakes in Trees?

Go see Lemony Snickets. There is a scene with the baby playing with a giant black snake. Maybe it will help you deal with this emotionally. I hope! (12/29/2004)

By coreenhart

Black Snakes in Trees?

I don't know if this is your snake(s), but hopefully this info will help!

"Because of its adaptability to a variety of habitats including those close to people, humans often encounter the Black Rat Snake. Although it is one of our most valuable snakes, human fear and prejudice against all snakes often result in this shy and beneficial species being killed on sight." (12/29/2004)


By The Fox

Black Snakes in Trees?

Thanks for all the feedback and info on this snake. it's nice to know what we have around our house, especially when we have kids. To coreenheart, I was not aware I had a problem emotionally coping with this issue. i just was shocked to see a snake in a tree and wanted to know what it was. Not like we were going to shoot or kill it or anything. We left it alone. I just wanted to know what it was.Thanks everyone for the info. (12/29/2004)

By txwright98

Black Snakes in Trees?

My dad used to tie barbed wire about 6 feet up around the trees to keep the snakes out.... hope it works for you too. (12/30/2004)

By kimmcg

Black Snakes in Trees?

My wife & I bought two lots just south & east of Houston. We began clearing them ourselves. We found copperheads, Mexican milk snakes, cottonmouths, common watersnakes, and coral snakes. We picked up Texas Monthly's Field Guide to Texas Snakes, through Gulf Publishing in Houston to help us identify them to make sure we did not harm the nonvenamous ones. It is well illustrated. Cats and Labradors can also be helpful in directing them, at least to the next yard. Our Lab got 4 coral snakes in one month. I understand that possums are immune to all Texas' snake venom & find them quite tasty.


Good Luck (08/22/2006)

By Will

Black Snakes in Trees?

We live in central North Carolina. We have recently found a rather long (3.5 - 4 feet) Black snake climbing up and resting in the branches of our tree adjacent to our bird bath and bird feeders. This has occurred mid day to early afternoon. Our guess is that it's looking for lunch or just "sunning" although it actually is in the shade.

About a year ago while trimming a large holy bush I found a snake skin that was more than 4 feet long and about 2 inches around the middle.

Our best guess is that these are what are commonly known as "Black Snakes." Upon doing some research, they may be "Rat Snakes." (05/04/2008)


Black Snakes in Trees?

Lots of snakes can climb trees, rafters, etc. If it was fat for it's length and had a strong odor, it's a cottonmouth (water moccasin). Cottonmouths are usually aggressive. There's also a plain black water snake. Thinner black snakes around here are called chicken snakes or rat snakes and they are not venomous and try to get away. They can get really long. I live in East Texas and snakes are common. Really creeps me out how they can climb because I always forget to look up out in the woods, I'm busy looking down for them. (06/01/2008)

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