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12 Black and White Snakes With Pictures

Black and white snakes are a fascinating sight in nature. This color combo pops up in various ways among snake species. You might see snakes with black tops and white bellies, or ones sporting black and white bands or spots. Some even have a cool checkerboard pattern.

These snakes, which can be venomous or harmless, live in all sorts of places like forests, grassy fields, and near water. In the US, you’re likely to come across these eye-catching snakes.

Quick Overview

Species NameLengthColorVenomousLocation
Puget Sound Gartersnake2-3 feetBlack with white/yellow stripesNoPacific Northwest, USA
Eastern Rat SnakeUp to 6 feetBlack scales on lighter backgroundNoEastern United States
Western Terrestrial Garter Snake2-3 feetBlack/dark brown with light stripesNoWestern United States
Gray Rat Snake4-6 feetBlack and gray patternedNoCentral and Eastern USA
California King Snake3-4 feetBlack and white bandingNoWestern United States
Speckled Kingsnake3-4 feetBlack speckled with white/yellowNoCentral and Southern USA
Long-nosed Snake2-3 feetBlack, red, white/yellow patternNoSouthwestern United States
Eastern Kingsnake4-5 feetBlack scales with thin white bandsNoEastern United States
Black Kingsnake3-4 feetGlossy black with white/yellow spotsNoSoutheastern United States
Striped Whipsnake3-5 feetBlack/dark brown with light stripesNoWestern United States
Western MassasaugaUp to 2 feetGray/brown with dark blotchesYesCentral United States
Pine Snake4-6 feetWhite/yellowish with black/brown blotchesNoEastern United States

1. Puget Sound Gartersnake

Puget Sound Gartersnake
Puget Sound Gartersnake | source: californiaherps.com

The Puget Sound Gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis pickeringii), a native of the Pacific Northwest, particularly around the Puget Sound region, is a visually striking species.

Typically growing to about 2 to 3 feet in length, these non-venomous snakes are characterized by their black and white or yellow stripes on a dark background.

They are commonly found in wetland areas and near various water bodies, where they hunt for amphibians and small fish.

2. Eastern Rat Snake

Eastern Ratsnake
Eastern Ratsnake | source: thesnakeguide.com

The Eastern Rat Snake (Pantherophis alleghaniensis), found throughout the eastern United States, is a large, impressive snake that can reach lengths of up to 6 feet.

This non-venomous species is known for its black scales on a lighter background, making it easily recognizable.

It prefers forested areas and is often found in old buildings and barns, where it hunts rodents, contributing to natural pest control.

3. Western Terrestrial Garter Snake

Western Terrestrial Garter Snake
Western Terrestrial Garter Snake | source: uoregon.edu

The Western Terrestrial Garter Snake (Thamnophis elegans), inhabiting the western United States, is a non-venomous species that typically grows to about 2 to 3 feet.

It features a black or dark brown color with light stripes and is commonly seen in meadows, woodlands, and near water sources.

This snake is adaptable to various environments and feeds on a wide range of prey, including amphibians and small mammals.

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4. Gray Rat Snake

Gray Rat Snake
Gray Rat Snake | source: inaturalist.com

The Gray Rat Snake (Pantherophis spiloides), native to the central and eastern United States, is a robust snake that can grow up to 4 to 6 feet in length.

This non-venomous snake is characterized by its black and gray patterned body, which provides excellent camouflage in its natural habitat.

It is often found in forests, rocky hillsides, and abandoned buildings, where it plays a crucial role in controlling rodent populations.

5. California King Snake

California King Snake
California King Snake | source: Mark Kostich @ istockphoto.com

The California King Snake (Lampropeltis californiae), indigenous to the western United States and particularly California, reaches lengths of 3 to 4 feet.

Renowned for its black and white banding, this non-venomous snake is highly adaptable and can be found in various habitats, including grasslands, forests, and deserts.

It is a constrictor and feeds on a variety of prey, including other snakes.

6. Speckled Kingsnake

Speckled Kingsnake
Speckled Kingsnake | source: shupewild.com

The Speckled Kingsnake (Lampropeltis holbrooki), found in the central and southern United States, grows to about 3 to 4 feet in length.

It’s a non-venomous species, easily identified by its black body speckled with white or yellow.

Its preferred habitats include woodlands, swamps, and near rivers, where it hunts for rodents, birds, and other snakes.

7. Long-nosed Snake

Long-nosed Snake
Long-nosed Snake | source: Steven Kurniawidjaja @ inaturalist.com

The Long-nosed Snake (Rhinocheilus lecontei), inhabiting the southwestern United States, typically reaches 2 to 3 feet in length.

This non-venomous species is notable for its unique black, red, and white or yellow pattern. It’s often found in deserts and semi-arid regions, where it preys on small mammals, lizards, and eggs.

8. Eastern Kingsnake

Eastern Kingsnake
Eastern Kingsnake | source: wikipedia.org

The Eastern Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula), native to the eastern United States, can grow up to 4 to 5 feet. This non-venomous snake is recognized by its black scales with thin white bands.

It thrives in wooded areas, swamps, and near water bodies, where it is known to hunt and eat venomous snakes, thanks to its immunity to their venom.

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9. Black Kingsnake

Black Kingsnake
Black Kingsnake | source: Tristan Clark @ inaturalist.com

The Black Kingsnake (Lampropeltis nigra), found in the southeastern United States, reaches lengths of 3 to 4 feet. It’s a non-venomous species, characterized by its glossy black color with white or yellowish spots or bands. I

ts habitat includes forests, fields, and wetlands, where it preys on rodents, birds, and other snakes, including venomous species.

10. Striped Whipsnake

Striped Whipsnake
Striped Whipsnake | source: thesnakeguide.com

The Striped Whipsnake (Masticophis taeniatus), inhabiting the western United States, grows to about 3 to 5 feet. This non-venomous snake has a black or dark brown body with light stripes and prefers open areas like deserts and scrublands.

It is known for its speed and agility, which it uses to catch lizards, rodents, and birds.

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11. Western Massasauga

Western Massasauga
Western Massasauga

The Western Massasauga (Sistrurus tergeminus), found in the central United States, is a venomous species, growing up to 2 feet. It features a gray or brown body with dark blotches and is often seen in grasslands and marshy areas. Despite its venom, it is generally shy and avoids human contact.

12. Pine Snake

Pine Snake
Pine Snake | source: thesnakeguide.com

The Pine Snake (Pituophis melanoleucus), native to the eastern United States, can reach lengths of 4 to 6 feet. This non-venomous snake is known for its white or yellowish body with black or brown blotches.

It’s commonly found in pine forests and sandy areas, where it burrows and hunts for small mammals and birds.

Conclusion

In the US, you’ll find plenty of these black and white snakes. Some are mostly black and white, while others have these colors as part of a larger mix. Most of them aren’t dangerous, so they’re pretty safe to be around.

What’s really interesting is how their contrasting colors make them look so unique. This makes them great choices for pets if you’re into snakes. The black and white combo really stands out in the animal world!

FAQs

What are black and white snakes?

Black and white snakes are a group of snake species known for their distinctive black and white color patterns. These patterns can vary from stripes and blotches to checkerboard designs.

Are black and white snakes venomous?

The venomous nature of black and white snakes varies by species. While some, like the Western Massasauga, are venomous, most are non-venomous and pose no threat to humans.

Are black and white snakes common in the US?

Yes, many black and white snake species, such as the Eastern Kingsnake and the Pine Snake, are commonly found across various regions of the United States.

Why do snakes have black and white coloration?

Black and white coloration in snakes can serve several purposes, including camouflage, temperature regulation, and signaling to other animals or potential threats.

Can black and white snakes be kept as pets?

Many non-venomous black and white snakes, known for their intriguing appearance, can be kept as pets. However, it’s important to research specific care requirements for each species.

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