What kind of black snakes are in PA?

Answered by Randy McIntyre

In Pennsylvania, there are several types of black snakes that you might come across. I’ve had a few encounters with these snakes myself, so I can give you a firsthand account of what to expect.

One common black snake in PA is the Northern Black Racer. These snakes are known for their speed and agility. I remember one time I was hiking in the woods and came across a black racer darting across the trail. They are quite skittish and will bite if you try to handle them, so it’s best to admire them from a distance.

Another black snake you might come across is the Timber Rattlesnake. Now, I have to admit, I haven’t personally encountered one of these snakes, as they are less common and tend to avoid human contact. However, I’ve heard stories from fellow hikers and wildlife enthusiasts about their encounters with these venomous snakes. They have a distinct rattle on their tail, which serves as a warning sign if you get too close.

Moving on to a less intimidating snake, we have the Queen Snake. These snakes are smaller in size and can often be found near streams or rivers. I remember one summer day while canoeing down a river, I spotted a black snake slithering along the edge of the water. It turned out to be a Queen Snake, and it was fascinating to watch it catch small fish and amphibians for its meal.

Next up is the Black Rat Snake. These snakes are quite common in PA and can grow quite long. I’ve encountered a few of these snakes around my property, and they are excellent climbers. I recall one time finding a black rat snake hanging from a tree branch, as if it was trying to catch a bird’s nest. They are non-venomous and play a beneficial role in controlling rodent populations.

The Northern Ring-Necked Snake is another black snake you might come across. These snakes have a distinctive yellow or orange ring around their neck. I’ve seen a few of these snakes while hiking in wooded areas. They are relatively small and tend to hide under rocks or logs during the day. Their striking appearance makes them quite memorable.

Moving on to a more common snake, we have the Eastern Garter Snake. While not entirely black, these snakes often have a black or dark-colored background with yellow stripes running down their body. I’ve encountered these snakes numerous times in my garden, and they are harmless. They can sometimes emit a musky odor as a defense mechanism, but they are generally docile and will quickly slither away when approached.

Last but not least, we have the Northern Water Snake. These snakes can be found near bodies of water, such as ponds or marshes. I remember one summer while fishing at a local lake, I spotted a black snake swimming across the water. It turned out to be a Northern Water Snake, and it was fascinating to see how effortlessly it moved through the water. They are non-venomous and are often mistaken for water moccasins due to their similar appearance.

So, there you have it – the seven most common black snakes you might find in Pennsylvania. Each one has its own unique characteristics and behaviors, making encounters with them both exciting and educational. Just remember to respect these creatures and observe them from a safe distance.