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12 Black Snakes in Texas (With Pictures)

Texas is known for its wide open spaces, where you can see everything from longhorn cattle to rattlesnakes. There are around a hundred different species of snakes in this state, and many of them are black or at least partially black in color.

So if you’ve spotted a black snake in Texas, it’s possible that it’s one of the ones on the following list.

12 Black snakes in Texas

Not all of the following species are solid black, but all of them have at least some black coloring. At different stages of their life they could be blacker than at other times. Sometimes older snakes will have less of a pattern and become darker. Either way, here’s a list of 12 black snakes in the state of Texas.

1. Timber rattlesnake

Timber rattlesnake
Timber rattlesnake | image by Peter Paplanus via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Crotalus horridus
  • Length: 36 to 40 inches
  • Venomous: Yes

The Timber rattlesnakes, also known as canebrake rattlesnakes, are venomous snakes that can be found in many states, including Texas. They’re big and heavy, and their bodies may be brownish with dark brown to black crossbands all over. The eastern third of the state is where you can locate most of the timber rattlesnakes, and they favor habitats such as upland woods and rocky ridges.

Even though their bites are highly venomous, this species would rather hide than use their venomous bites to attack their predators.

2. Buttermilk racer

Buttermilk racer
Buttermilk racer | image by Patrick Feller via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Coluber constrictor anthicus  
  • Length: up to 60 inches
  • Venomous: No

If you’ve seen a snake with a unique color pattern in Texas, it may have been a buttermilk racer. Buttermilk racers are most common in the south and east of the state, where they live in pine forests and grasslands. Their one-of-a-kind coloring combines blue, olive, or black as a primary hue with patterns of blue, tan, yellow, and cream scales.

Buttermilk racers can move very quickly through the grass, and they’ll bite anyone if they feel the need to. Another strategy they use to ward off potential predators is to emit an unpleasant odor.

3. Western cottonmouth

Western cottonmouth coiled
Western cottonmouth coiled | image by Peter Paplanus via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Agkistrodon piscivorus leucostoma
  • Length: 30 to 42 inches
  • Venomous: Yes

The Western cottonmouths are the only semi-aquatic viper in the world, and they can also be found in Texas. They come in many different colors, like solid black, dark brown, olive brown, or olive green. You‘ll also see dark bands on their bodies, which are more noticeable on some than on others.

These semi-aquatic vipers make their homes in or close to bodies of water, most frequently in the swamps, rivers, lakes, and ponds found in the eastern half of the state.

4. Texas indigo snake

Texas indigo snake on soil
Texas indigo snake | image by Dean Stavrides via iNaturalist | CC BY 4.0
  • Scientific Name: Drymarchon melanurus erebennus
  • Length: 66 to 78 inches
  • Venomous: No

The Texas indigo snake is one of the longest snakes in the US. Its average length is up to 6.5 feet, but some have been known to grow as long as 8.5 feet. They’re native to Texas, more specifically the southern region of the state, and they don’t possess a venomous bite.

These snakes are black, but their skin is smooth and iridescent, which makes them look bluish-black or indigo, hence the name. They spend most of their time hiding and hunting almost everything, from small mammals to venomous snakes like rattlesnakes.

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5. Western Massasauga

  • Scientific Name: Sistrurus catenatus tergeminus
  • Length: 18 to 40 inches
  • Venomous: Yes

One of the venomous snakes that can be found in northern and central Texas is the western massasauga. They’re a species that lives in grasslands and have a coloration that ranges from light gray to dark gray with blotches of brown or black all over their bodies.

This species is also considered small because most of them can only grow to a length of three feet. Even though western massasaugas are venomous, they’re shy animals that try to stay away from people as much as possible.

6. Speckled kingsnake

Speckled kingsnake
Speckled kingsnake | image by Peter Paplanus via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Lampropeltis holbrooki 
  • Length: 36 to 48 inches
  • Venomous: No

The speckled kingsnake is a subspecies of the kingsnake that stands out due to its unusual pattern of white or yellow spots in its black body. You can find this black snake in a variety of habitats across eastern Texas, from prairies and brushy areas to swamps and marshes.

They‘re also among the species of snakes that are immune to venom, which is why venomous snakes are also part of their diet.

7. Red-bellied Mudsnake

Mudsnake | credit: Ashley Wahlberg (Tubbs) | Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Farancia abacura
  • Length: 30 to 48 inches
  • Venomous: No

If you live near the wetter areas of the state’s eastern third, there’s a good chance you’ll come across some red-bellied mudsnakes. It’s a large species with a shiny black body and a reddish belly that goes all the way up to its sides. Despite their vibrant color, they’re non-venomous and a very secretive species.

They’re also semi-aquatic creatures that reside in wet lowlands, swamps, and other slow-moving bodies of water.

8. Western ribbon snake

Western Ribbon Snake
Western Ribbon Snake by Greg Schechter via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Thamnophis proximus proximus
  • Length: 20 to 30 inches
  • Venomous: No

The Western ribbon snakes are non-venomous reptiles that are black with three yellowish stripes along their sides and backs. They’re widespread in Texas and can be found in the Chihuahuan desert, coastal marshes, south Texas thornscrub, and north Texas woodlands, where the majority of their habitats are found near bodies of water.

These animals are most active at dawn and dusk in the spring and autumn months, and their primary food source is amphibians.

9. Texas garter snake

Texas garter snak
Texas garter snake | image by Dawson at English Wikipedia via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 2.5
  • Scientific Name: Thamnophis sirtalis annectens
  • Length: 15 to 28 inches
  • Venomous: No

As their name suggests, Texas garter snakes live in Texas, especially in the central part of the state. They live near bodies of water and have a greenish-black back with stripes that run the length of their bodies. The stripes are yellowish on the sides and reddish orange in the middle.

This species isn’t venomous and isn’t aggressive. If it feels cornered, it‘ll only try to run away and give off an unpleasant smell.

10. Brahminy blind snake

Brahminy's blind snake
Brahminy’s blind snake | image by Rushen via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Indotyphlops braminus
  • Length: 2 to 4 inches
  • Venomous: No

The Brahminy blind snakes are small, thin snakes that are native to southern Asia but can also be found in Texas. They’re among the smallest species of snakes and measure just 2–4 inches in length, with dark brown to black bodies.

Brahminy blind snakes can be found in many agricultural areas of Texas. They like to hide under rocks, moist leaves, or logs. In addition, the eggs of termites and ants make up the majority of their diet.

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11. Southern black racer

Southern black racer
Southern black racer | image by Peter Paplanus via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Coluber constrictor priapus
  • Length: 20 to 56 inches
  • Venomous: No

The southern black racer is a type of black racer that lives in Texas. They’re thin and black, but their bellies are grayish, and their chins are white. Southern black racers don’t like being handled either, and they’ll strike or flail around wildly to get away. This species is also quite fast, which is why they were called racers.

As constrictors, they kill their prey by suffocating it, and most of their victims are rodents, amphibians, reptiles, and eggs.

12. Black rat snake

black rat snake
Image by Oregon21 from Pixabay
  • Scientific Name: Pantherophis obsoletus
  • Length: up to 6 ft
  • Venomous:  No

The black rat snake is a non-venomous species of snake found throughout much of the eastern United States. Typically black or dark brown with a lighter underside, they can grow up to 6 feet long.

These adaptable snakes can thrive in various habitats, such as forests, fields, and suburban areas. They help to control rodent populations, but are often mistaken for venomous snakes and killed. Remember, they are harmless and should be left alone if encountered in the wild.

In Texas, they inhabit the eastern region of the state, from the Piney Woods to the Gulf Coast, as well as some central and north-central counties.

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About Louise Robles

Louise writes about a wide variety of topics including wildlife, animals, and nature. She's developed a growing interest in animal biology and categorization due to her fascination with how they interact with one another and with their surroundings.