- Snakes are attracted to Georgia due to its warm and humid climate.
- There are around 46 species of snakes in the state — 10 of which are black snakes.
- Cottonmouths or water moccasins are the only venomous black snakes in the state and can be found throughout Georgia except in its northeastern region.
- Black racers are the most commonly found snake in the state. They may have white chins, are excellent climbers, and are diurnal.
Georgia is a hotbed for snakes because of its warm and humid climate. There are approximately 46 species of snakes in Georgia, and 10 of them are black snakes that are sometimes mistaken for each other. Knowing some behaviors and physical features that differ between these snakes will help you stay safe.
There are 6 venomous snakes in Georgia, but only one makes it onto our list of black snakes. That snake is the cottonmouth. Knowing how to differentiate the cottonmouth from the less dangerous snakes keeps not only you safe, but it keeps harmless snakes from being unnecessarily killed.
What are 10 of the black snakes in Georgia? We’ll take a look at some pictures and go over the details you need to know about each one.
10 Black Snakes in Georgia
These are 10 of the black snakes in Georgia:
- Eastern Cottonmouth
- Southern Black Racer
- Glossy Crayfish Snake
- Brahminy Blind Snake
- Plain-Bellied Water Snake
- Eastern Rat Snake
- Black Swamp Snake
- Black King Snake
- Eastern Mudsnake
- Eastern Indigo Snake
1. Eastern Cottonmouth
The cottonmouths are absent from the northeast part of the state but present everywhere else. These snakes are also known as water moccasins, and they’re highly venomous.
Their mouths are almost pure white, reminiscent of the color of cotton, which is how they earned their name. They battle birds of prey, and both usually fatally wound each other.
2. Southern Black Racer
Black racers are thin black snakes that grow up to 5 feet long. Sometimes they have a white chin. If confronted, they’ll flee if possible, but they also will defend themselves by biting. They’re one of the most common snakes in Georgia.
These snakes have a uniformity to their coloring, which differentiates them from dark coachwhips, black kingsnakes, and hognose snakes. They’re also mistaken for cottonmouths, though when they hunt and what they eat are different.
They thrive in almost any habitat, but they especially like the edges of forests and wetlands. They rely on their eyesight for hunting, and they look for their meals during daylight hours. Black racers usually hang on the ground, although they’re great climbers.
3. Glossy Crayfish Snake
These are smaller snakes coming in at less than 2 feet long. They’re found throughout the coastal plain, and they like bodies of water as they’re primarily aquatic. It is not clearly understood how close they need to live to a water source.
Glossy crayfish snakes prefer the coastal plain in the south. As their name implies, they feed mostly on crayfish, and they’re able to do this because they have special pointy teeth that help them crunch through exoskeletons.
They coil around their crayfish, but they aren’t constrictors. As their name implies, they swallow crayfish whole. They’re hard to spot in the wild, but sometimes, especially on rainy nights, they can be caught in shallow water.
4. Brahminy Blind Snake
As invasive species, brahminy blind snakes were brought to the United States in the soil of imported plants. They originally hail from Southeast Asia.
They’re tiny snakes that only grow to a max of 6 inches. Their favorite foods are termite and ant eggs, and they thrive on the coastal plain. They like to burrow underground and are completely harmless.
5. Plain-Bellied Water Snake
The plain-bellied water snake is found throughout the state except in the mountains and some parts of the southeast. They grow to be approximately 3 feet long.
They’re usually near water of some kind like wetlands, lakes, or ponds. The loss of these habitats due to development threatens their presence in Georgia.
6. Eastern Rat Snake
These snakes are more proliferous in the south of Georgia than in the north. They like to chow down on birds, rodents, and eggs. Chickens are also on the menu, so they’re also called chicken snakes, though rats are their preferred food.
Eastern rat snakes are adaptable snakes and live in various habitats. Their undersides and chin are usually some shade of off-white. They’re long snakes coming in at under 7 feet.
7. Black Swamp Snake
The southeastern coastal plain is where to find black swamp snakes. They have a solid red underside with a black back. They seek wet habitats with more frogs than fish.
They’re smaller for a snake coming in at about 2 feet in length. They’re often confused with eastern mudsnakes, but the difference is eastern mudsnakes have checkered bellies while the swamp snake’s belly is solid.
8. Black Kingsnake
The black kingsnakes are found in the northwest of the state. They’re adaptable and are found in almost any kind of habitat. These snakes are mostly black except for flecks of yellow that are distributed evenly across its body.
Their bellies mirror their body; mostly yellow with blotches of black. They’re popular pets, but it’s not recommended that wild snakes be caught, as they’re more aggressive than those bred for captivity.
Kingsnakes are nonvenomous snakes that eat venomous snakes because they’re immune to most types of snake venom. They’re sometimes confused with cottonmouths though their appearances are different. Cottonmouths have diamond patterning, while kingsnakes may have stripes.
9. Eastern Mud Snake
Mud snakes live in western Piedmont and the coastal plain. They have red checkerboard undersides that contrast brightly against their black bodies. They usually grow to be under 5 feet in length, but one is on record, coming in at over 6 feet.
10. Eastern Indigo Snake
These snakes eat a spread of vertebrates, specifically juvenile gopher tortoises. They’re becoming less common due to habitat destruction, which shortens the range of their prey. It’s believed that the shortened gopher tortoise’s range affects the distribution of the eastern indigo snake.
They not only feast on gopher tortoises, but they also use their burrows. They’re one of the longest snakes in the state, coming in at 7 feet. Like most of the snakes on our list of black snakes, it’s nonvenomous.
Other Snakes Found in Georgia
In addition to black snakes, there are more than 30 other species of snakes in Georgia. Some of these are better able to camouflage themselves than others due to their colorations, such as brown snakes, which can hide easily in logs and among leaf litter.
One of the most common brown snakes that lives in Georgia is the brown water snake, which can be found in rivers and streams across southeastern United States.
There are six venomous snakes in “The Peach State,” one of which is the Eastern copperhead that is covered with tan or brown crossband markings and makes its home in deciduous forests and mixed woodlands. Two other venomous brown snakes present in Georgia are the timber rattlesnake, which has black or brown crossband markings, and the Eastern diamondback rattlesnake, named for its diamond markings that feature dark brown centers and cream borders. Find out more about brown snakes in Georgia here.
What State Has the Most Snake Attacks?
In the state of Georgia, there are close to 500 snake bites reported to the Georgia Poison Center annually. But what state ranks the highest in snake bites? That would be North Carolina. This southeastern state’s bite rate is 157.8 bites per million population per year. How does that average out? Well, the population as of 2021 was a little over 10 million (10.55 to be exact). If we were to just figure it off of 10 million, that would mean that there are roughly 1,580 reported snake bites per year.
The top 6 states for reported snake bites are as follows:
- North Carolina–157.8 bites per million
- West Virginia–105.3 bites per million
- Arkansas–92.9 bites per million
- Oklahoma–61 bites per million
- Virginia–48.7 bites per million
- Texas–44.2 bites per million
In North Carolina, there are 6 different kinds of venomous snakes: copperhead, cottonmouth, timber rattlesnake, pigmy rattlesnake, eastern diamondback rattlesnake, and eastern coral snake. In 2019, 92 people were bitten by venomous snakes in that state.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Patrick K. Campbell/Shutterstock.com
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