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Black Snakes in Florida (11 Species With Pictures)

Florida is home to many different species of snakes, some of which are venomous. Unless you consider snake identification one of your stronger skills, it can be difficult to tell certain snakes apart, especially snakes that share similar colors and patterns! Florida is home to a handful of snakes that are black or mostly black, making distinguishing one from another a bit difficult. In this list, we’ll introduce 11 species of black snakes in Florida.

It’s important to note that some individual snakes may vary in their coloration due to different factors. However, if you see a black snake in Florida, chances are it is one of the snakes found on this list.

11 black snakes found in Florida

1. Eastern Indigo

Eastern Indigo | credit: Florida Fish and Wildlife | Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0
  • Scientific name: Drymarchon couperi
  • Length: 6.5 – 8.5 ft
  • Distribution in Florida: Throughout most of peninsular Florida and as far south as Key Largo
  • Habitat: Hardwood forests, pine flatwoods, prairies and around ponds

The Eastern Indigo snake is the longest snake in North America. It is a stunning snake with sleek black scales. Certain individuals may also have patches of red on their chin. Eastern Indigo snakes are nonvenomous and have a fairly mild temperament. They are listed as a threatened species by the state of Florida and at the national level by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

2. Black Racer

Black Racer | credit: pondhawk | Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific name: Coluber constrictor
  • Length: 20 – 56 in
  • Distribution in Florida: Throughout most of mainland Florida and the Florida Keys
  • Habitat: Hardwood forests, pinelands, prairies, scrub, sandhills, residential areas

The Black Racer is one of the most common snakes you may encounter in Florida. It is a habitat generalist and is often found in urban/suburban areas. They are appropriately named Racers as they move incredibly quick! Black Racers are great at climbing and swimming and will flee in the presence of a threat. They are nonvenomous but have been known to strike in order to defend themselves.

3. Eastern Hognose

Eastern Hognose | credit: Hunter Desportes | Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific name: Heterodon platirhinos
  • Length: 20 – 33 in
  • Distribution in Florida: Throughout most of Florida excluding the Florida Keys
  • Habitat: Sandhills, scrub, fields/agricultural land, scrub, meadows, pine and oak woodlands

Patterns and colors of Eastern Hognoses may vary, but some individuals are nearly all black. Hognose snakes are named after their slightly upturned or flat snout that resembles a pig snout. The Eastern Hognose will display death-feigning behavior when threatened and will roll onto its back and prop its mouth open to appear dead.

4. Eastern King Snake

Eastern Kingsnake | credit: Greg Gilbert | Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific name: Lampropeltis getula
  • Length: 3 – 4 ft
  • Distribution in Florida: Northern peninsular Florida and in the panhandle
  • Habitat: Pinelands, cypress stands, marshes, estuaries

The Eastern Kingsnake is a black snake with white bands along its body. There are also several other subspecies of the Eastern King Snake that can be in Florida and may share similar coloration, however it can vary greatly from snake to snake. Eastern King Snakes have experienced population declines throughout Florida and are not commonly found.

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5. Southern Ringneck

Southern Ringneck | credit: TheAlphaWolf | Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Scientific name: Diadophis punctatus
  • Length: 6 – 10 inches
  • Distribution in Florida: Found all throughout Florida, including the Florida Keys
  • Habitat: Meadows, pinelands, prairies
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Ringnecks are very small black snakes marked with a single ring on their neck (hence the name), on their ventral side (belly) they are bright yellow, red or orange. When stressed or threatened, Ringnecks will lift their tail up to show off its brightly colored belly. Ringnecks are typically found under leaf-litter or logs and they also burrow.

6. Brahminy Blind Snake

  • Scientific name: Indotyphlops braminus
  • Length: 2.5 – 6.5 in
  • Distribution in Florida: Found all throughout Florida, including the Florida Keys
  • Habitat: Urban and agricultural areas

The Brahminy Blind Snake is not native to Florida, but is actually from Southeast Asia. However, they are not nearly as detrimental to native Florida ecosystems as other invasive reptiles in Florida. At first glance, many people mistake Brahminy Blind Snakes for earth worms due to their small size and similar appearance.

7. Black Swamp Snake

Black Swamp Snake | credit: Peter Paplanus | Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific name: Seminatrix pygaea
  • Length: 10 – 15 in
  • Distribution in Florida: Found all throughout mainland Florida
  • Habitat: Aquatic environments such as swamps, marshes, lakes, estuaries, ponds and along slow moving streams

In Florida there are two subspecies of Black Swamp Snakes. As suggested by their common name, these snakes are aquatic and are not typically found away from water bodies. These snakes are actually live bearing snakes and will give birth to 2-11 babies during the summer.

8. Eastern Coachwhip

Eastern Coachwhip | credit: Peter Paplanus | Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific name: Masticophis flagellum
  • Length: 4.2 – 6 ft
  • Distribution in Florida: Found all throughout Florida except for Florida Keys
  • Habitat: Pine flatwoods, sand-hills, scrub, along beaches within sand dunes

The Eastern Coachwhip varies in color, but some individuals will be mostly black with the tail fading into a light brown color. Coachwhips are incredibly quick and are also amazing climbers. Most Coachwhips will flee immediately in the face of a threat, but if they can’t then they will quickly vibrate their tail against the ground to make a buzzing sound.

9. Eastern Mud Snake

Mudsnake | credit: Ashley Wahlberg (Tubbs) | Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0
  • Scientific name: Farancia abacura
  • Length: 40 in
  • Distribution in Florida: Found all throughout Florida except for the Florida Keys
  • Habitat: Freshwater habitats such as swamps, marshes, along drainage ditches, rivers and lakes

The Eastern Mud Snake is a highly recognizable snake due to its coloration. The dorsal portion of the snake is mostly black with red bands emerging from the ventral (belly) side of the snake. Eastern Mud Snakes have reputation of being incredibly docile and rarely bite when handled. Instead, they may press the pointed tip of their tail into the hand of whoever has picked it up.

10. Glossy Crayfish Snake

Glossy Crayfish Snake | credit: Ashley Wahlberg (Tubbs) | Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0
  • Scientific name: Regina rigida
  • Length: 14 – 23 in
  • Distribution in Florida: Found in central peninsular Florida and in parts of the panhandle
  • Habitat: Aquatic habitat like sloughs, swamps, creeks and streams

Glossy Crayfish snakes are relatively uncommon. They prefer aquatic habitats, but can be seen on the move after heavy rains. They vary in color but are typically very dark brown/olive colored. As suggested by the name, these snakes eat crayfish but will also feed on other aquatic organisms like fish, frogs and salamanders.

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11. Rough Earth Snake

Rough Earth Snake | credit: Jscottkelley | Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 3.0
  • Scientific name: Virginia striatula
  • Length: 7 – 10 in
  • Distribution in Florida: Found only in the western half of the panhandle and in northern peninsular Florida
  • Habitat: Pine flatwoods

The Rough Earth Snake ranges from shades of black to dark brown or even grey. They are not very common as they are fossorial, meaning they spend most of their time underground. They have a pointed snout that helps them to burrow through soil. Their diet consists of mostly earth worms.

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