Wildlife Informer is reader-supported. When you click and buy we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

8 Black Snakes in Michigan (ID Pictures)

Michigan is home to many species because of the variety of habitats it provides, including forests, wetlands, and the Great Lakes coastline. Not surprisingly, the state is home to 18 different types of snakes. Black snakes in Michigan may be a common sight, and it’s important to be aware of the species that can be found in your area.

If you want to learn more about these creatures, this article listed some of them as well as some information to assist you in identifying them.

Black snakes in Michigan

8 Black snakes in Michigan

1. Black rat snake

black rat snake
credit: Shenandoah National Park
  • Scientific Name: Pantherophis obsoletus
  • Length: 36 to 72 inches
  • Venomous: No

Black rat snakes are medium-sized, non-venomous snakes that are native to North America. They’re very good climbers and can even climb trees and crawl up into attics. The bodies of juvenile black rat snakes are grayish with brown blotches, but these spots become darker and turn black as the snakes mature and become adults.

This species is generally docile and will run away from humans when they see them, but if these rat snakes feel cornered, they can become aggressive and even imitate the tail of a rattlesnake by vibrating their own tails to frighten away their predators and fool them into thinking they’re rattlers.

2. Eastern fox snake

Eastern foxsnake
Eastern foxsnake | Photo by Peter Paplanus via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Pantherophis gloydi
  • Length: 36 to 66 inches
  • Venomous: No

Fox snakes are a species of snake that you can find in Michigan. They’re most commonly found along the coastline and in areas that are close to the water. This is due to the fact that this species thrives in the Great Lakes basin. Their bodies are yellowish to light brown in color, and they have a row of dark brown or black blotches down the middle of their backs.

While you’re most likely to encounter one of these snakes in a wetland with herbaceous vegetation, you might also see one in a ditch, on the beach, or even in a nearby farm field. Fox snakes like these environments because that’s where they can find prey, like voles, mice, worms, birds, and eggs. The name of these creatures is also derived from the fox-like scent these species emit when they feel threatened.

3. Copperbelly water snake

Copperbelly water snake
Copperbelly water snake | image by Peter Paplanus via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Nerodia erythrogaster neglecta
  • Length: 36 to 40 inches
  • Venomous: No

The copperbelly water snake is an aquatic snake that can be distinguished by its two distinct colors, which are black on its upper parts and a reddish-orange color on its underparts. This species can be found in the state, more specifically in the counties of Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Eaton, Hillsdale, Oakland, and St. Joseph. Copperbellies are typically found in habitats such as floodplains and shrubby wetlands close to water bodies, such as rivers, ponds, and lakes.

These creatures have a reputation for preying primarily on amphibians like frogs and salamanders, but they have also been observed eating crayfish and fish. Crayfish burrows, lodges, and piles are also popular places for them to hibernate through the winter and emerge in the spring.

4. Butler’s garter snake

Buttler’s garter snake
Buttler’s garter snake | image by rpoort via iNaturalist | CC BY 4.0
  • Scientific Name: Thamnophis butleri
  • Length: 15 to 20 inches
  • Venomous: No
You may also like:  5 Reasons Why Your Bearded Dragon is Pale

The central, southeast, and western regions of Michigan are home to a variety of black snakes, including the butler’s garter snake. Commonly found in open or semi-open wetlands, this species of snake is nonvenomous and non-threatening to humans.

The body of a butler snake can range in color from olive green to black, and it has stripes that are either yellow or orange. These garter snakes also have two rows of dark spots in between their stripes.

They can be found under rocks, logs, or other debris and feed primarily on worms, but will also eat small amphibians. During the winter months, you can find this species of snake hibernating alongside other garter snakes.

5. Northern ringneck snake

Northern ringneck snake on the ground
Northern ringneck snake on the ground | image by Cody Hough via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Scientific Name: Diadophis punctatus edwardsii
  • Length: 10 to 15 inches
  • Venomous: No

The northern ringneck snake is a small and slender reptile that can grow up to about 15 inches in length. Their body color ranges from bluish-gray to black, and they have a single yellow stripe around their neck, which is how they got their name.

These snakes are naturally secretive and can frequently be found hiding themselves beneath logs or rotting bark. They’re nocturnal animals, and although insects and worms make up the majority of their diet, they’ll also consume small birds and mammals.

6. Northern ribbon snake

Northern ribbon snake
Northern ribbon snake | image by Jon Fife via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Thamnophis sauritus septentrionalis
  • Length: 18 to 26 inches
  • Venomous: No

One of the black snakes you can see in Michigan is the northern ribbon snake. You can find them in wetlands, such as marshes, the edges of lakes, ponds, and streams. They’re slim and moderately sized snakes, reaching a maximum of 26 inches in length.

Ribbon snakes are shiny and dark brown to black, with bright yellow or white stripes running down the middle of their backs and along the sides. The northern ribbon snake can swim very well and feeds primarily on amphibians, insects, and even small fish.

7. Eastern hognose snake

Eastern Hognose | credit: Hunter Desportes | Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Heterodon platirhinos
  • Length: 40 to 54 inches
  • Venomous: No

Among the reptiles found in Michigan is the eastern hognose snake, which is most often spotted in areas with a combination of dry, open woods, large sand deposits, and forest edges. These creatures can be completely black, or they may have yellow, green, or gray body colors with patterns that are darker than the rest of their background.

Hognose snakes are easily recognizable in the wild thanks to their pointed and upright snouts. They’re not aggressive and, when cornered or threatened, will simply play dead.

8. Massasauga rattlesnake

image: Peter Paplanus | Flickr | CC BY 2.0 | Massasauga Rattlesnake
  • Scientific Name: Sistrurus catenatus catenatus
  • Length: 18 to 30 inches
  • Venomous: Yes

If you want to know if Michigan has venomous black snakes, you might want to look at the massasauga rattlesnake. They were seen in 50 out of the state’s 83 counties, with the majority of reports coming from the Lower Peninsula. This snake is gray overall with dark brown or black spots, and it can grow to be between 18 and 30 inches in length.

Even though their bites are venomous, massasaugas are shy and tend to slither away when they see people. Because of the limited volume of venom they can inject due to their short fangs, human fatalities are extremely rare.