Discover 9 Black And White Snakes – (Picture & Characteristics)

Last updated on March 26th, 2024 at 07:46 pm

Black and white snakes exhibit a unique and captivating beauty with their contrasting colours and striking patterns. From sleek stripes to mesmerizing spots, these serpents are fascinating within the snake kingdom.

When we think of snakes, vibrant colours and intricate patterns often come to mind. However, black and white snakes offer a different kind of beauty. Their contrasting hues create an elegant and captivating visual impact. Whether it’s the sleek black body with crisp white bands of the California kingsnake or the striking black-and-white spotted pattern of the Dalmatian python, these snakes exhibit a unique charm that commands attention.

Are Black And White Snakes Venomous?

Black and white snakes encompass various species, some of which are venomous while others are not.

  • Venomous: Many black and white snakes, such as the Western Massasauga, are evil. Their venom can be dangerous and potentially fatal without proper medical treatment.
  • Mildly Venomous: Many black and white snakes are mildly venomous. For example, the Puget Sound Gartersnake is now considered a mildly venomous species due to its poisonous saliva.
  • Non-venomous: Certain black and white snakes, like the Speckled Kingsnake, are non-venomous and pose no health risks to humans. However, they may resist the bites of other venomous snakes and even prey on juvenile ones.

It’s important to remember that non-venomous black and white snakes do not exclude the possibility of encountering evil ones. Always exercise caution and seek professional guidance when dealing with snakes.

List Of Black And White Snakes

1. Bandy-Bandy (Hoop Snake)

Black And White Snakes
Scientific NameVermicella annulata
ColourationBlack and white banding pattern
Band WidthBlack bands are broader, white bands are narrower
VenomousMildly venomous
LengthTypically around 30-50 centimeters (12-20 inches)
LocationAustralia

The bandy-bandy, also known as the hoop snake, is a black and white snake with smooth-shiny black scales adorned with horizontal white banded stripes from head to tail. Despite their captivating appearance, these snakes possess potent venom that can be highly lethal to humans in significant quantities. The bandy-bandy’s venom consists of neurotoxins that specifically target the nervous system. In various parts of Australia, there are six species of bandy-bandy, and they primarily prey on other snakes.

2. Black-Tailed Rattlesnake

Black And White Snakes
Scientific NameCrotalus molossus
ColorationGray or brown with black bands and a black tail
Body LengthAverage length of 3-5 feet (0.9-1.5 meters)
VenomVenomous
HabitatFound in arid regions, deserts, and grasslands
LocationMexico, United States

The black-tailed rattlesnake (Crotalus molossus) is a venomous snake found in Mexico and the United States, particularly in the southwestern regions, including Texas, Arizona, and Central Mexico. Within the black and white snakes category, four species of black-tailed rattlesnakes exhibit variations in colouration. As adults, they reach medium-sized lengths of up to 42 inches. While primarily black and white, some individuals may display additional hues like browns and olive green. Notably, they feature a distinctive mask-like black marking on their face.

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3. Suzhen’s Krait

Black And White Snakes
Scientific NameBungarus suzhenae
ColorationBlack with thin white or yellow bands
Body LengthAverage length of 0.8-1 meter (2.6-3.3 ft)
VenomHighly venomous
HabitatForested areas and agricultural lands
LocationChina, Myanmar

Suzhen’s krait (Bungarus suspense) is a newly identified species. This new member of the black-and-white snake list was first documented in 2021. It receives its name from Bai Su Zhen, the Chinese snake goddess from the “Legend of the White Snake.” It is found in southwestern China and northern Myanmar.

Although this species of krait wasn’t formally identified until 2021, it has a long history. In 2001, herpetologist Joseph B. Slowinski was bitten by what was thought to be a black-and-white banded krait. He later passed from these wounds, leading to various studies into the snake species that bit him. These studies showed a different species than the black-and-white banded krait: Suzhen’s krait.

Kraits are dangerous, and many can be identified through their black-and-white colouration. Suzhen’s krait sports a white belly and large, black splotches on its back, or dorsal, side. These black markings tend to overlap or touch, making a solid black dorsal side appear. 

4. Western Massasauga

Black And White Snakes
Scientific NameSistrurus catenatus
ColorationGray or light brown with dark brown blotches
Body LengthAverage length of 18-30 inches (46-76 cm)
VenomVenomous
Rattlesnake BehaviorRattles on the tail as a warning
LocationUnited States, Mexico

The western massasauga (Sistrurus terminus) is another venomous black and white snake found in the United States and Mexico. Although it belongs to the same family as the black-tailed rattlesnake, it is not a type of rattlesnake but is classified as a pit viper.

Adult western massasaugas can reach lengths between 14 and 36 inches. There are two species within this group: S. t. terminus, also known as the plains massasauga, found in the Great Plains, and S. t. edwardsii, or the desert massasauga, found in the desert regions of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. Some individuals may exhibit black spots that appear dark brown or grey instead.

5. Common Kingsnake

Black And White Snakes
Scientific NameLampropeltis getula
ColorationBlack with yellow or white bands
Body LengthAverage length of 3-6 feet (0.9-1.8 meters)
VenomNon-venomous
BehaviorConstrictors; prey on other snakes
LocationUnited States

The Common Kingsnake, also known as the Eastern Kingsnake or chain kingsnake, is a widespread non-venomous black and white snake found throughout the United States. These kingsnakes can reach lengths of up to 208.2 cm. They have a shiny black colouration with narrow white stripes running from head to tail.

The Common Kingsnake has several common names, including Black Kingsnake, North American Kingsnake, and Pine Kingsnake. Like other kingsnakes, it primarily feeds on a variety of small snakes, including venomous coral snakes and other rattlesnakes.

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6. Butler’s Wolf Snake

Scientific NameLycodon butleri
ColorationBlack or dark brown with white or yellow markings
Body LengthAverage length of 2-3 feet (0.6-0.9 meters)
VenomNon-venomous
BehaviorNocturnal and secretive
LocationThailand, Malaysia

Butler’s Wolf Snake belongs to the non-venomous wolf snake species within the family Colubridae. They have a striking appearance with shiny black scales and elegant narrow white stripes that extend evenly from the back of the neck to the tail.

Like many amphibians and reptiles, Butler’s Wolf Snakes are oviparous, laying eggs as part of their reproductive process. In terms of diet, these snakes primarily feed on rodents, geckos, lizards, and skinks, showcasing their adaptability and diverse prey preferences.

7. Common Garter Snake

Black And White Snakes
Scientific NameThamnophis sirtalis
ColorationVaried colors, including green, brown, and black, with longitudinal stripes
Body LengthAverage length of 2-4 feet (0.6-1.2 meters)
VenomNon-venomous
BehaviorActive during the day; often found near water
LocationNorth America

If you’ve ever seen a common garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis), you may wonder how it ended up on a list of black-and-white snakes. Garter snakes can come in various morphs or colours. While there is a black-and-white morph of the garter snake, some morphs don’t feature either of these colours!

Garter snakes are thin but can grow up to around 4 feet long. They produce mild venom. It can be effective when hunting their prey, such as small amphibians, but it doesn’t pose a medical emergency to humans. 

READ ALSO: Baby Rat Snake

8. Desert-Striped Whipsnake

Black And White Snakes
Scientific NameMasticophis (Coluber) taeniatus
ColorationOlive or tan with dark brown or black stripes
Body LengthAverage length of 3-5 feet (0.9-1.5 meters)
VenomNon-venomous
BehaviorDiurnal and fast-moving
LocationUnited States, Mexico

The striped whipsnake (Masticophis taeniatus) is a nonvenomous species recognized for its black dorsal side and distinctive white, vertical stripe. Although its most common coloration is black with a white stripe, it can also appear in other hues like brown or olive green. Native to the western United States and the northernmost parts of Mexico, it can be found as far south as Michoacán.

This species consists of two subspecies: Masticophis taeniatus girardi and Masticophis taeniatus taeniatus. M. t. taeniatus, also known as the desert whipsnake, inhabits desert environments. On the other hand, M. t. girardi is named after Charles Frédéric Girard, a French herpetologist.

9. Laotian Wolf Snake

Scientific NameLycodon laoensis
ColorationGray or brown with irregular white or yellow markings
Body LengthAverage length of 1.5-2.5 feet (0.5-0.8 meters)
VenomNon-venomous
BehaviorNocturnal and secretive
LocationLaos, Thailand, China, India

The Laotian Wolf Snake is a non-venomous snake belonging to the colubrid snake species native to regions of Asia. It exhibits nocturnal behaviour and is known for its burrowing tendencies.

This snake displays a striking appearance with a completely black body accompanied by yellow crossbands on the dorsal side and white crossbands on the ventral side. With a maximum size of around 20 inches, Laotian Wolf Snakes are generally non-aggressive and reluctant to bite. Their diet primarily consists of small rodents, frogs, geckos, and lizards.

Conclusion

Black and white snakes are a diverse group of reptiles with intriguing characteristics. Some are venomous, while others are harmless. Their distinct colouration adds to their allure and uniqueness. It is important to approach all snakes with caution and respect, regardless of their evil or non-venomous nature. By appreciating and understanding these fascinating creatures, we can contribute to their conservation and coexistence in our ecosystems. Let us strive to protect and appreciate the beauty of black and white snakes for future generations.

FAQs

1. Are all black and white snakes venomous?

No, not all black and white snakes are venomous. There are both venomous and non-venomous species among black and white snakes. It is important to identify the specific species to determine its venomous nature.

2. How can I differentiate between a venomous and non-venomous black and white snake?

Differentiating between venomous and non-venomous black and white snake can be challenging. It is always best to exercise caution and only approach any snake if you have proper knowledge or expertise. If uncertain, consult with snake experts or local authorities for assistance.

3. Can black and white snakes be kept as pets?

Some black and white snake species can be kept as pets, but it requires proper care, knowledge, and legal considerations. It is important to research the specific species and their requirements before considering them as pets. Always ensure you acquire snakes from reputable sources.

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