Discover the Darkest Snakes in the World

The eastern indigo snake is a large nonvenomous snake native to the Eastern United States. Its head and body are about the same size, and it doesn’t have much of a neck.
© iStock.com/sstaton

Written by Jeremiah Wright

Updated: May 1, 2023

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A closeup of a Red-Bellied Black Snake flicking its tongue

Out of 3,000 species of snakes – only 600 are venomous.

©Paul Looyen/Shutterstock.com

Whether we’d like it or not, snakes are everywhere. With more than 3,000 species thriving all across the planet, we can find snakes in any possible habitation and even in the comfort of human habitats. In every place and new ecosystem we encounter in our lives, there might be chances that a snake might be lurking just near you—but you always don’t have to worry about getting bitten! Only 20% or 600 species of snakes on the planet are venomous, and the rest are harmless, shy creatures.

Snakes have always been feared for their spooky appearance and have gained a reputation for being dangerous, despite how most of them are venomous and would most likely not want to come into contact with humans. But the truth is, they are fascinating animals, and they are more than just their reputation of having a fearsome look as each snake species are unique in its ways.

We’ve always described snakes as legless and limbless creatures that crawl, and it would be hard for us to tell the difference among the 3,000 species of snakes existing today. However, there is one thing that can help us differentiate snake species, and that is their color. Snakes come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. These colors range from red, yellow, and brown to green, gray, and black.

Today, we’ll talk about snakes, their dark color, diet, habitat, characteristics, and unique traits that may interest you.

Black Swamp Snake

Black Swamp Snake

The black swamp snake can only measure up to 1.25 feet in length.

©Dawson / CC BY-SA 2.5 – Original / License

Black Swamp Snake
Scientific nameLiodytes pygaea
LengthUp to 1.25 feet
DietTadpoles, Leeches, Earthworms, Salamanders

As small and harmless nonvenomous snakes, black swamp snakes can only measure up to 1.25 feet in length. These snakes are black and shiny, with bright red bellies that have black markings on their edges. Young black swamp snakes have similar colors to adults. These swamp snakes mainly inhabit the coastal areas of North Carolina up to Florida and are mostly found dwelling in wetlands, cypress swamps, lake edges, and marshes. 

These black snakes often feed on worms, tadpoles, leeches, earthworms, salamanders, small fish, and even frogs. Due to the loss of 80% of wetlands in many states, there was a significant loss in the number of species, such as the black swamp snake, as it is only found in wet and moist habitats.

Eastern Rat Snake

A black rat snake, also called a chicken snake, swallows a chicken egg in the nest in North Caroliana. The snake has a wedge-shaped head that's larger than its body.

Eastern rat snakes primarily feed on lizards, birds, bird eggs, frogs, young chickens, and rodents.

©samray/Shutterstock.com

Eastern Rat Snake
Scientific namePantherophis alleghaniensis
LengthUp to 6 feet
DietLizards, Birds, Frogs, Young chickens

Also known as the “black rat snake” due to its solid black coloration, the eastern rat snake is a large nonvenomous snake that can measure between 3.5 and 6 feet long. It can be primarily found east of Florida’s Apalachicola River, east of Georgia’s Chattahoochee River, east of the Appalachian Mountains, north and southeastern New York, western Vermont, eastern Pennsylvania, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Maryland. Eastern rat snakes can live in different habitats, such as wetlands, fields, farmlands, forests, mountains, grasslands, and even rocky areas. 

Eastern rat snakes primarily feed on lizards, birds, bird eggs, frogs, young chickens, and rodents. They may also feed on chicks, which sometimes causes people to call them “chicken snakes.” They are solitary creatures but may join or group themselves with any other species of snakes such as eastern racers, timber rattlesnakes, or copperheads. They are nonvenomous and will only freeze at the sight of a potential predator.

Eastern Indigo Snake

The eastern indigo snake is a large nonvenomous snake native to the Eastern United States. Its head and body are about the same size, and it doesn’t have much of a neck.

Male eastern indigo snakes are more extensive than females.

©iStock.com/sstaton

Eastern Indigo Snake
Scientific nameDrymarchon couperi
LengthUp to 8 feet
DietTurtles, Toads, Small alligators, Other snakes

The eastern indigo snake is another large and nonvenomous snake that is native to the eastern United States and is considered the longest native snake species in the country. Eastern indigo snakes have a solid blue-black color, as they received their name by having glossy iridescent scales that can turn blackish-purple when shed under bright lights. Unlike most snakes, male eastern indigo snakes are more extensive than females.

These large snakes mainly inhabit cane fields, wetlands, dry meadows, and moist forests. They primarily feed on turtles, toads, small alligators, and sometimes other snakes. They are immune to venom, so they can eat venomous snakes such as North American rattlesnakes. Despite their large size, they seldom bite when facing a potential threat. Instead, they vertically flatten their neck before hissing and vibrating their tail to scare off people and predators.

Black Pine Snake

Black Pine Snake

Black pine snakes are nonvenomous and only feed on rats, mice, moles, other rodents, and even small mammals.

©reptiles4all/Shutterstock.com

Black Pine Snake
Scientific namePituophis melanoleucus lodingi
LengthUp to 6 feet
DietRats, Mice, Moles, Small mammals

Although it is included in a group of closely related snake species consisting of other pine snakes, bull snakes, and gopher snakes, the black pine snake is limited to certain parts of the southeastern United States. Black pine snakes are mostly found burrowing themselves in woodlands, rocky areas, forests, grasslands, and even deserts. They have a black or dark brown color on their backs, with patterned bellies and a cone-shaped scale on the tip of their snout.

Despite their large size and fearsome appearance, black pine snakes are nonvenomous and only feed on rats, mice, moles, other rodents, and even small mammals. They are also elusive creatures and prefer to spend most of their time burrowing in the ground. They usually hunt underground, where they can mostly find rodents for supper. When disturbed in their habitat, they loudly hiss, flatten their heads, vibrate their tails, and aggressively strike at the intruder.

Southern Black Racer

black racer vs black rat snake

Young black racers are usually gray, with reddish-brown blotches that fade through aging.

©Jay Ondreicka/Shutterstock.com

Southern Black Racer
Scientific nameColuber constrictor
LengthUp to 5 feet
DietChipmunks, Spiders, Shrews, Moth larvae

Southern black racers are fast-moving snakes that can also climb trees and swim well. These fast snakes have thin bodies with a solid black color and grey-colored bellies. Young black racers are usually gray, with reddish-brown blotches that fade through aging. They are found throughout the southeastern United States and inhabit areas such as pinelands, woodlands, grasslands, prairies, sandhills, cypress strands, and forests.

These snakes can eat any animal they can hunt, but they usually feed on chipmunks, spiders, shrews, moth larvae, lizards, moles, rodents, frogs, and other small snake species. Like other snakes, they are solitary creatures and are most active during the day to spend their time hunting or simply basking out in the sun. These snakes rely on their high speeds to flee from potential threats when spotted.

Discover Another Dark Reptile

Black dragon lizard

A black dragon lizard is a solid black due to a genetic mutation.

©Kurit afshen/Shutterstock.com

Unlike the dark snakes featured above, the black dragon lizard is an exotic type of water monitor that gets its dark color through genetic mutation – not unlike albino animals. This sub-species of water monitors are semi-aquatic carnivores who feed on carrion of all kinds – including human remains. They also eat rodents, turtles, crocodile eggs, frogs, and snakes. Water monitors are the second largest lizards in the world, after Komodo dragons. This native of Thailand can be found in mangrove swamps, wetlands, forests, and city canals. They can grow up to 110 pounds with obesity being one of their biggest threats!

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About the Author

I hold seven years of professional experience in the content world, focusing on nature, and wildlife. Asides from writing, I enjoy surfing the internet and listening to music.

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