A-z - Animals

Georgia's 10 Black Snakes

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key point

  • Snakes are attracted to Georgia because of its warm, humid climate.
  • There are approximately 46 species of snakes in the state, 10 of which are black snakes.
  • The cottonmouth, or sambar, is the only venomous black snake in the state and can be found throughout Georgia except in the northeastern region.
  • The black race snake is the most common snake in the state. They probably had white chins, were excellent climbers, and were diurnal.

Georgia's warm, humid climate is a hotbed for snakes. There are about 46 species of snakes in Georgia, 10 of which are black snakes that are sometimes mistaken for each other. Knowing some of the different behaviors and physical characteristics of these snakes will help you stay safe.

Georgia has 6 venomous snakes, but only one is on our black snake list. That snake is the cottonmouth snake. Knowing how to tell the difference between a cottonmouth and less dangerous snakes will not only keep you safe, but also prevent harmless snakes from being killed unnecessarily.

What are Georgia's 10 black snakes? We'll look at some images and detail what you need to know about each one.

Georgia
Georgia's warm, humid climate attracts snakes.

© Sue Smith/Shutterstock.com

Georgia's 10 Black Snakes

These are the 10 Black Snakes in Georgia:

  1. east cottonmouth
  2. southern black racer
  3. Glossy Crawfish Snake
  4. brahman blind snake
  5. Flat-bellied Hydra
  6. Eastern rat snake
  7. black swamp snake
  8. black king snake
  9. Eastern Mud Snake
  10. Oriental blue snake

1. East Cottonmouth

Cottonbills are characterized by a large spade-shaped head, bright white mouth, and alternating light and dark stripes.
The cottonmouth is a black venomous snake native to Georgia.

© iStock.com/Sadako

The northeastern part of the state has no cotton mouths, but it does elsewhere. Also known as water buckskin snakes, these snakes are highly venomous.

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Their mouths are almost pure white, reminiscent of the color of cotton, which is how they got their name. They fight birds of prey, often inflicting fatal wounds on each other.

2. Southern Negro Racers

southern black racer curled up
The black race snake is one of the most common snake species in Georgia.

©Psychotic Nature/Shutterstock.com

Black race snakes are slender black snakes that can reach a length of 5 feet. Sometimes they have a white chin. If encountered, they will run away as much as possible, but they will also defend themselves by biting. They are one of the most common snakes in Georgia.

These snakes are uniform in color, which distinguishes them from dark horsewhip snakes, black king snakes, and hognose snakes. They have also been mistaken for cottonmouth monkeys, although they hunt and eat differently.

They can thrive in almost any habitat, but they especially like the edges of forests and wetlands. They hunt by sight and find food during the day. Black racers usually drop to the ground, even though they are great climbers.

3. Glossy Crayfish Snake

Glossy Crawfish Snake
Glossy crayfish snakes feed primarily on swallowing crayfish whole.

©Nathan A Shepard/Shutterstock.com

These are smaller snakes that are less than 2 feet long. They are found throughout the coastal plains and they love water as they are primarily aquatic animals. It's unclear how close to a water source they need to live.

Glossy crayfish snakes prefer the southern coastal plains. As their name suggests, they feed primarily on crayfish, and they are able to do this because they have special fangs that help them crush their exoskeleton.

They coil around crayfish, but they're not pythons. As their name suggests, they will swallow crayfish whole. They are difficult to spot in the wild, but sometimes, especially on rainy nights, they can be caught in shallow water.

4. Brahman blind snake

Smallest Snake: Brahman Blind Snake
Brahman blind snakes are invasive tiny burrowing animals.

©Patrick K. Campbell/Shutterstock.com

An invasive species, the Brahman blind snake was brought to the United States in the soil of imported plants. They are originally from Southeast Asia.

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They are small snakes that only grow to a maximum of 6 inches. Their favorite food is termite and ant eggs, and they thrive on the coastal plains. They like to burrow underground and are completely harmless.

5. Flat-bellied water snake

Flat-bellied hydrat - Yellow-bellied hydrat
Flat-bellied water snakes can be found all over Georgia except in the mountains.

©/Shutterstock.com

Flat-bellied water snakes are found throughout the state, except in the mountains and parts of the southeast. They grow to about 3 feet long.

They are usually near some kind of body of water, such as a wetland, lake or pond. Loss of these habitats to development threatens their presence in Georgia.

6. Eastern rat snake

A pair of eastern rat snakes (Pantherophis alleghaniensis) snuggle together in spring. Raleigh, North Carolina. The underside of their body is usually shiny black.
Eastern rat snakes are also known as cocksnakes because they often eat chicken.

© samray/Shutterstock.com

These snakes are more prolific in southern Georgia than in the north. They like to eat birds, rodents and eggs. Chicken is also on the menu, so they are also known as cockatrice, although rats are their preferred food.

Eastern rat snakes are adaptable snakes that live in a variety of habitats. Their rump and chin are usually some grayish white. They are long snakes under 7 feet.

7. Black Swamp Snake

Black swamp snakes prefer wet habitats.

© iStock.com/passion4nature

The southeastern coastal plain is home to the black swamp snake. They are solid red on the underside and black on the back. They seek out moist habitats where there are more frogs than fish.

For a snake about 2 feet long, they are smaller. They are often confused with the eastern mud snake, but differ in that the eastern mud snake has a checkered belly, while the swamp snake has a solid belly.

8. Black King Snake

Mississippi Snake - Eastern Black King Snake (Lampropeltis nigra)
The black king snake eats poisonous snakes.

© Matt Jepsen/Shutterstock.com

The black kingsnake is located in the northwest of the state. They are adaptable and can be found in almost any type of habitat. These snakes are mostly black except for yellow spots evenly distributed over the body.

Their bellies mirror their bodies; mostly yellow with black spots. They are popular pets, but capturing wild snakes is not recommended as they are more aggressive than captive-bred snakes.

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King snakes are non-venomous snakes that eat venomous snakes because they are immune to most types of snake venom. Despite their different appearance, they are sometimes confused with cottonmouths. Cottonmouths have a diamond pattern, while kingsnakes may have stripes.

9. Eastern Mud Snake

Eastern Mud Snake
Eastern mud snakes have a red checkerboard pattern on their abdomen.

©Nathan A Shepard/Shutterstock.com

Mud snakes live in western Piedmont and the coastal plain. They have a red checkerboard underside that contrasts nicely with their black bodies. They usually grow to under 5 feet, but over 6 feet have been documented.

10. Oriental blue snake

Eastern blue snake (Drymarchon couperi) lying in grass. The Eastern Indigo Snake is the longest snake in the United States.
Eastern indigo snakes primarily eat gopher turtles.

©Patrick K. Campbell/Shutterstock.com

These snakes eat many vertebrates, especially juvenile gopher tortoises. They are becoming less common due to habitat destruction, which shortens their prey range. The shortened range of the gopher tortoise is believed to have affected the distribution of the eastern indigo snake.

Not only do they feed on gopher turtles, but they also use their burrows. They are one of the longest snakes in the state, reaching up to 7 feet. Like most of the snakes on our black snake list, it is non-venomous.

Other Snakes Found in Georgia

In addition to the black snake, there are more than 30 other species of snakes in Georgia. Some of these snakes are more camouflaged than others due to their coloring, such as brown snakes, which can easily hide in logs and fallen leaves.

One of the most common brown snakes living in Georgia is the brown water snake, which can be found in rivers and streams in the southeastern United States.

One of the six species of venomous snakes in the Peach State is the eastern copperhead, which is covered in tan or brown cross-stripes and lives in deciduous and mixed woodlands. Two other venomous brown snakes that exist in Georgia are the timber rattlesnake, which has black or brown cross-stripes, and the eastern diamondback, named for its diamond-shaped stripes with dark brown centers and cream borders. Learn more about Georgia brown snakes here.

Large Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
The eastern diamondback's pattern usually fades towards the tail.

©Chase D'animulls/Shutterstock.com

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