Black and Yellow Snakes in Florida

Written by Megan Martin
Updated: August 25, 2023
Share on:


Listen to Article

Key Points

  • There are 44 species of snakes native to Florida, and 6 of those are colored almost entirely black and yellow.
  • The black and yellow snakes in Florida are the Eastern Rat Snake, Ring-Necked Snake, Common Garter Snake, Eastern Ribbon Snake, Rainbow Snake, and Florida Kingsnake.
  • These snakes can be found throughout the state in habitats including the sandy coasts bordering the Atlantic Ocean, the Everglades, and forested regions inland.

About Snakes in Florida

When you think about Florida, chances are, you think about the many reptiles that live here. There are 44 different species of snakes native to Florida. From the sandy coasts bordering the Atlantic Ocean to the Everglades to the forested regions inland, snakes can thrive without a shortage of habitats. Not only do they thrive in these ecosystems, however, but they also play a significant role. 

Snakes are an important player in the ecosystems of the world, including in Florida. They help control the rodent population. Some species will even eat ticks! Non-venomous species of snake will also eat venomous species, which helps ensure that even the snake population monitors itself.

Of the 44 species of snake that call Florida home, only the following six are venomous:

101,170 People Couldn't Ace This Quiz

Think You Can?

6 Black and Yellow Snakes in Florida

Not only are there six venomous snakes here, but there are six different species of snakes in Florida that are almost entirely black and yellow. While some, like the rainbow snake, may sport one or two other colors, there’s no doubt that, at first glance, you’ll be able to tell that these are the most common black and yellow snakes in Florida.

Keep reading below to meet them!

1. Eastern Rat Snake

In many states, the eastern rat snake is one of the most common types of snakes around. They’re a large, stout species of snake that can be identified by their black dorsal side and pale greyish-yellow belly. Some individuals may have black stripes along their sides. While they aren’t the largest snake in Florida, they are one of the largest black and yellow snakes in Florida. They can grow to be up to 7 feet long. 

The eastern rat snake (Pantherophis alleghaniensis) shouldn’t be confused with another similar species, the western rat snake (Pantherophis obsoletus). These species are related but aren’t the same. The eastern rat snake is one of the black and yellow snakes in Florida, while their western cousin is not. 

A pair of Eastern Ratsnakes (Pantherophis alleghaniensis) snuggle during the spring season. Raleigh, North Carolina. The base of their body is typically a shiny black.

The Eastern Rat snake (

Pantherophis alleghaniensis

) is one of the largest black and yellow snakes in Florida.


2. Ring-Necked Snake

When you think of snakes, your first thought may not be cute. However, cute is exactly what the ring-necked snake is! They’re harmless and small, only growing to around 10 to 15 inches at the most. 

There are actually several different subspecies of ring-necked snake, with many coming in different colors. The southern ringneck snake (Diadophis p. punctatus), for instance, has an almost completely yellow side with black and red markings. However, the Key ring-necked snake (Diadophis punctatus acricus) is found only in Florida.

Although their tell-tale yellow ring can be difficult to see in this species, the Key ring-necked snake has a bright yellow-orange belly that can be hard to miss. This makes them one of the more well-known black and yellow snakes in Florida. 

A ring-necked snake slithering compacted gray granite gravel. The snakes body is long, making three backward S patterns with its head resting on part of it upper body, closet to its head than its tail. The snake is gray on top, with a bright orange underbelly, and a narrow matching orange ring around its neck.

Florida’s key ring-necked snake (

Diadophis punctatus acricus

) has a bright yellow-orange belly that can be hard to miss.

©Tom Fenske/

3. Common Garter Snake

There are 13 subspecies of the common garter snake distributed across North America. Several species can even be found in the American southeast, including Florida. However, when it comes to black and yellow snakes in Florida, the most common subspecies is the eastern garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis).

They can have black scales, as well as greenish or grey scales. They are also known for pale yellow stripes running along their sides. 

Eastern Garter Snake has yellow stripes

The eastern garter snake (

Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis

) is known for its pale yellow stripes that run along its sides.

©Erik Agar/

4. Eastern Ribbon Snake

The eastern ribbon snake (Thamnophis sauritus) is actually a species of garter snake. They can grow to be up to 16 to 35 inches long. They have a dark brown to black coloration, and, like other garter snakes, they have pale yellow ventral stripes. 

The eastern ribbon snake has a dark brown to black coloration with yellow stripes.

The eastern ribbon snake (

Thamnophis sauritus

), a species of garter snake, has a dark brown to black coloration with yellow stripes.

©Steve Bower/

5. Rainbow Snake

You may not get to see a glimpse of the rainbow snake often, even if you live in Florida. They are highly aquatic snakes found only in the coastal planes of the southeastern United States. There are two subspecies, but one is extinct. Not only this, but they’re highly secretive and prefer their space, making it difficult to spot them.

If you happen to see one, however, you’ll notice that they’re one of the black and yellow snakes of Florida. However, they’re not just black and yellow. Typically, rainbow snakes are black with yellow stripes. They also have red stripes as well. Both sets are ventral, meaning it runs down the length of their body rather than forming a ringed pattern. 

Rainbow snakes have black, yellow and red stripes.

Rainbow snakes are highly secretive and have black, yellow, and red stripes.

©Charles Baker / CC BY-SA 4.0 – License

6. Florida Kingsnake

As their name suggests, the Florida kingsnake is one of many species of kingsnake. However, this species, in particular, is native to southern Florida. They’re also a common pet, with this species being considered an easy-to-care-for snake thanks to their lack of venom and easy handling. 

Florida kingsnakes are black with pale yellow rings. 

Florida Kingsnake is black with yellow rings

The Florida kingsnake is native to the state and is black with pale yellow rings.

©David Huntley Creative/

Summary of 6 Black and Yellow Snakes in Florida

RanksSpeciesKey FeaturesSize
1Eastern rat snake (Pantherophis alleghaniensis)Black dorsal sides and a pale greyish-yellow belly7 feet
2Key ring-necked snake (Diadophis punctatus acricus)A bright yellow-orange belly10 – 15 inches
3Eastern garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis)Black, greenish, or gray scales with pale yellow stripes running along their sides18 –26 inches
4Eastern ribbon snake (Thamnophis sauritus)Dark brown or black scales and pale yellow ventral stripes 16 – 35 inches
5Rainbow snake (Farancia erytrogramma)Black with yellow and red stripes36 – 48 inches
6Florida kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula floridana)Black with pale yellow rings. 3.5 – 5 feet
Table Showing 6 Black and Yellow Snakes in Florida

The photo featured at the top of this post is © K Quinn Ferris/

Discover the "Monster" Snake 5X Bigger than an Anaconda

Every day A-Z Animals sends out some of the most incredible facts in the world from our free newsletter. Want to discover the 10 most beautiful snakes in the world, a "snake island" where you're never more than 3 feet from danger, or a "monster" snake 5X larger than an anaconda? Then sign up right now and you'll start receiving our daily newsletter absolutely free.

Share on:
About the Author

Megan is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is birds, felines, and sharks. She has been researching and writing about animals for four years, and she holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with minors in biology and professional and technical writing from Wingate University, which she earned in 2022. A resident of North Carolina, Megan is an avid birdwatcher that enjoys spending time with her cats and exploring local zoological parks with her husband.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.