Skip to main content
Pest control

Are Black Snakes Poisonous?

By June 12, 2023No Comments
Black rat snakes will not keep poisonous snakes away, but they will reduce the food options as they devour the same prey.

Imagine driving home from a long day at work and as you pull into your driveway you see a black snake slither across your driveway, right in front of the garage door. You stop your vehicle and think, do not open the garage door. Out of fear that the black snake will gain entry into your garage and you will not be able to find it. After waiting patiently, you realize it is now safe to open the garage door and park your vehicle. After this rather scary encounter, you decide to investigate black snakes. Are black snakes poisonous? They are not poisonous and use strangulation to kill their prey. Then eat their prey whole.

Let’s take a look below at some more facts regarding black snakes.

What Is A Black Snake?

There are a few varieties of species of snakes that are black. However, “black snake” often refers to black rat snakes or rat snakes. They are most common in the Central and Eastern United States. Also, they can be found in parts of Canada. Black snakes have a white belly and white chins with a shiny black color on top. The mating season for a black snake is between May and June. Captive black snakes can live up to 34 years.

Black snakes are known to eat lizards, frogs, birds, and rodents. As their name implies, their favorite meal is a rat or mouse. Other black snakes include the black racer and eastern kingsnake. Black racers and eastern kingsnakes are great at deterring predator venomous snakes as they will often kill and eat them. This is often where the confusion comes in about if black snakes are poisonous.

Black rat snakes love to hide in small crevices and hard to reach places.

What Should I Know About Black Snakes?

Believe it or not, there are a lot of great facts to know about black snakes. Let’s take a look below at what those facts are.

  • Named from their prey – Black snakes get their name from the main prey that they eat. Rat snakes are called “rat snakes” because they love to eat rats.
  • A loaf of bread – The shape of a black snake is that of a loaf of bread. The bellies of these snakes meet the body at an angle. This merging makes them look like a loaf of bread.
  • No hibernation – Black snakes do not hibernate, rather they brumate. This allows them to drink water and stay partly active as temperatures warm up.
  • Longest snake – The black snake is one of the longest snakes in central North America. These snakes can grow as long as eight feet long. Typically, they will be between four and five feet in length. Consequently, they are the largest snake group in Georgia and can be found in South Carolina, North Carolina, Louisiana, and many New England states.
  • Copycats – Black snakes will rattle their tales at predators to scare them away. This mimics other venomous snakes and gives them an added layer of protection.
  • Great climbers – Black snakes are great at slithering up structures, trees, and rocks without needing the assistance of branches.
  • Musty smell – Their pheromone smells like a foul-smelling thick musk and is used as a defense mechanism against predators.
  • Not endangered – The black rat snake is currently a very “stable” species on Earth. They have been successful at procreating and maintaining their population.
  • Jaw adjustments – Black snakes can swallow prey that is bigger than their head. Items like bird eggs, golf balls, and glass bottles are all items that are similar to their prey, so they have been known to swallow these as well.

How Dangerous Are They?

Luckily, black snakes are not poisonous snakes. This like will use constriction to suffocate their prey. Once the game has stopped breathing, it will consume the prey whole. Additionally, they are not very aggressive snakes and usually slither away from humans. Consequently, any snake bite will need to be looked at by a doctor. The bacteria from a snake’s mouth could cause some major health reactions. Also, your skin or body could end up with an infection.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Now that you are aware that black snakes are not poisonous, you can begin reading up on what a rat’s nest looks like. Being able to get rid of any rats in or around your home is one way to keep black snakes away. Reducing the food source is key.

Next, consider reducing the food source of the black snakes in your area. To accomplish this more largely, consider hiring your local pest control company. Pest control is a great way to control the local insect and rodent population. Eliminating as many options for the snake is key.

Lastly, changing things in your hard could also help keep insects away. Adding landscaping rock in place of mulch or bark is a great way to also reduce your insect populations.

The black racer is just another type of black snake that is not poisonous.

When Do I Call A Professional?

Finding black snakes in your yard is not a bad thing. Consider a black snake as added pest control for your yard. Additionally, the black racer snake will eat venomous snakes. Consequently, if you have concerns over too many snakes in your yard or snakes in general, call on your local pest control company. They can help you keep all snakes away.


Owning a home has a lot of responsibilities. Keeping rodents and other creatures out of your yard is not the easiest thing to do. Often you will need assistance from your local pest control company. Black snakes feed on many various creatures, so although they can help keep some infestations from occurring, they aren’t necessarily exciting to come across. To keep from getting a snake infestation call on your local pest control company. Reach out to All South Pest Control to determine your pest service needs in McDonough, GA, and the surrounding areas.

Leave a Reply