little black snakes in yard(m)

teeka0801December 3, 2007

I've seen a few of these in my back yard recently. They are maybe a foot long,thin as a pencil? Anyone know what type of snake they are?

I'm new to this area, so not familiar at all w/wildlife.


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goldenpond((Vero.Beach FL 9b))

do they have a little ring around their neck?

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 7:08AM
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They're called baby snakes.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 9:11AM
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manature(9B Sanford, FL)

Hahaha, Mikie! If they are black with a red ring around their necks, they are ringneck snakes and don't get any bigger. BUT, we need more description. Lots of snakes, both adults and babies, could fit "thin as a pencil and a foot long." Let us know what color or type of markings are on the snake, and we can pin it down for you more easily. A picture would be great.

Whatever you do, though, I hope you won't kill them. If they are harmless snakes, you will be doing your garden a disservice by removing them.


    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 11:25AM
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manature(9B Sanford, FL)

I see that you DID include "Black" in your subject line, sorry. Check to see if they have an orange or red ring around the neck, just behind the head. If they do, they are definitely ringneck snakes and don't get any bigger. Completely harmless.

Black racers are very thin snakes, but at only a foot long, they are usually not black yet. Their babies start out as basically a grey splotchy pattern all over.


    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 11:28AM
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they are definitely all black.
Next time I see one I'll double check for the red ring,but I am pretty sure there isn't any other color on them.

They are pretty fast, but I'll try to get a picture and post it .

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 3:46PM
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manature(9B Sanford, FL)

If they are slim and all black, they are probably black racers, but they are also probably a bit more than a foot in length. Maybe more like 18" or so? Could that be the case? I don't know of any other solid black, very slim snake that would be likely. Black racers are also very harmless snakes that do a fantastic job of keeping pests under control. I have had two in my yard for awhile, though I haven't spotted them lately. Sure hope they are still okay. I did see a baby one a couple of months ago, so I'm taking that as a sign that the others are well and reproducing.


    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 5:02PM
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black racers are a satin black, white under chin, and get a lot bigger, but are shy of ppl. and are good to have around, you will not get poisionous snakes or others, as the black snake will drive it off in a hurry...they have the right of way at our house, and are welcome here..

    Bookmark   December 7, 2007 at 3:49PM
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They scare the life out of me even though they are harmless. I had one sneak inside my house one time. It curled up under the refrigerator and wouldn't come out. My husband called me at work to tell me about it. He and a neighbor had to pull it out together and release it over the fence into the woods behind our house.


    Bookmark   December 7, 2007 at 11:03PM
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Mary,yes, snakes can be scary, but the black snakes are afraid of us and will take off in the other direction. They keep the snakes that are poison away, as well as the other little critters like rats, mice and voles. All those will eat your fruits and veggies if you grow them. It takes time but you can learn to welcome them in your garden, but not in your house. lol

    Bookmark   December 8, 2007 at 5:18AM
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Probably harmless. We have a mature black racer nicknamed "Maurice" who lives in our front planter. We haven't had a single palmetto bug in the house since "Big Mo" arrived.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2007 at 3:30PM
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manature(9B Sanford, FL)

I know of no native slender solid black snake in Florida that is dangerous, so whether it is baby black racers you are seeing or fully grown ringnecks, you are safe from them. (Sometimes adult moccasins are close to being solid black, but they could by no means be described as slender.)

Black racers do rid your yard of pests & vermin, for sure, but I have never heard of them being particularly vigilent at chasing away or killing poisonous snakes. (Maybe our resident herper, Wayne, can weigh in on that.) I HAVE heard of indigo snakes killing and eating rattlers and other snakes, and they ARE a black snake. But I'm just not sure you can say that your yard would not have any poisonous snakes around simply because black racers live there. Mine seem to coexist peacefully enough with yellow rat snakes, garter snakes, ringnecks, corn snakes and others.

Not saying it isn't true, mind you, just that I've never heard that before about black racers. Only indigos.

At any rate, in the meantime, rest assured that slender, solid black snakes are not dangerous, and are beneficial to have in your garden.


    Bookmark   December 8, 2007 at 4:31PM
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This is said to be one of the smallest snakes in the world, which is now found in Florida, the Brahminy Blind snake. The full grown snakes are between 4 inches and 6 1/2 inches in length and are often mistaken for other species of baby snakes or earthworms.

I have personally found this snake in my yard in Tampa, Florida. I thought it was a baby black snake (until I started reading about it and discovered that baby black snakes aren't actually black). We found it when raking up leaf litter from underneath my live oaks.

Some links about them are here:

Range: This is an exotic species from southeast Asia that has been introduced into Florida. It is found from the Florida keys and southeastern peninsula north to Lake Okeechobee, and in isolated populations near Fort Myers and in Pinellas County and in Gainesville. Outside of Florida, it has been widely introduced in many tropical localities.

Habitat: Commonly found in urban and agricultural areas.

Comments: The Brahminy blind snake burrows in the soil and leaflitter, and is found under rotting logs, leaves, and trash. Most often it is seen in flower beds while gardening, or on sidewalks after rain. It is believed that it was introduced into Florida in the soil of imported plants. Being moved around this way in some parts of the world has earned it the name 'flower pot snake'.

It feeds on the eggs, larvae, and pupae of ants and termites.

It lays eggs or may be live-bearing. All individuals are female and reproduce unisexually, where the eggs begin cell division without sperm from a male. Up to 8 genetically identical offspring are produced.

Comparison with other species: None, though it is frequently mistaken for earthworms. Both are shiny, but if you look carefully you will see that earthworms are segmented (they have rings around the body) and the Brahminy blind snake is not segmented. Neither can the Brahminy blind snake cannot stretch itself out or contract like an earthworm.

Note: For my zone, I used the AHS heat zone map that puts me in zone 10. For more about this map, see explanation here:

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 10:02AM
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I live in South Florida, specifically Broward County. This morning I spotted a 4-5 in black colored snake in my patio. It had a red or orange ring around its neck, just behind its head, actually a very pretty creature. However, it was very defensive. I figured it was a baby snake due to its length and being the thickness of the lead in a pencil. From reading the posts above, it could be 1 of a few types. But, I believe it is probably harmless and is welcome in my yard anytime.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 4:50PM
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I found one of these little snakes inside my house. i accidentaly stepped on it, pannicked and threw a book on it. I feel bad now because it was a Brahminy blind snake and harmless. It really DID look like a worm, and I thank, you saved me a trip to the hospital.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2010 at 1:39PM
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I have a 5 to 6 foot solid shiney black snake under my mobile home, he was along my skirting, when it seen my son and I it ran back under my home, I was told to put down moth balls at area where it came out. I hope it leaves my property, I do not want to hurt it, just want it to leave my property, scared of snakes and spiders. Grandkids coming this summer for three weeks, do not want any mishaps, I live by forest in Walaka Pomona Park Florida area. Any Help and advise welcome.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 10:22PM
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KaraLynn(z9 FL, Inverness, Citrus)

For those of you who are unfamiliar with florida snakes I thought I'd post a couple pictures of what a ring neck snake looks like. They are really neat snakes and in all my years of handling various snakes they are the most docile once they are caught. Here's a ring neck I found in my yard a couple years ago.


    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 8:33AM
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Cherie Biando-Snyder,

If you chase the snakes away the black roof rats will move in. Florida is infested with those nocturnal rats. I would much rather have snakes than vermin any day. It's your choice, so consider it wisely before making a decision you might regret later.


    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 10:15AM
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I have to agree with Lou. Unless you prefer rats, mice, and mosquitos, cherish your snake. It won't hurt your grandchildren--they are much more likely to hurt it than the other way around.

BTW, I have a friendly blacksnake that lives in a hole by my gatepost, and she was out sunning herself on the lawn one day when a neighbor was putting out snake-away or some such thing. Although she normally ignores their place (no cover and few plants around) she raced over there to see what it was all about, so I'm not so sure about the mothballs.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 11:41AM
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pabrocb(Sarasota/Cape Cod)

My dachshund is a gecko and small snake hunter. I saw him with the non-business end of a snake hanging out of his mouth one day. I thought he had killed the snake, but then found a snake in pieces in a section of the garden where he does not have access.

What kind of animal (other than a dachshund) would kill a small snake and bite it in half, but not eat it? Cats?

Carol B. in Sarasota

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 6:42PM
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A word of caution - harmless or not - SALMONELLA

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 8:54PM
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I get so concerned about the snakes down here! We just moved here in December and I have a 2 year old and 7 month old not to mention my two dogs.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2011 at 8:46PM
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sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)

I had a six foot black snake in one of the chicken coops the other evening. I went out there to shut up the chickens and they were all standing outside the coop, milling around and wouldn't go in. I looked in and there was this huge snake with egg bumps in him. I hope he knows that I just wormed my chickens and he is not supposed to eat the eggs for 2 weeks! Hmmm
Anyhow he left on his own and slithered back behind the coop. I let him go.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 7:46PM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

A word of caution - harmless or not - SALMONELLA

Give me a break! You have a better chance of getting a salmonella infection from under-cooked eggs....When was the last time you personally picked up a snaked and got slimmed?

Tom (who's worked with infectious diseases for two decades)

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 8:25PM
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Corpsman - worry not about snakes. Having lived here all my 63 years I've had snakes in my backyard frequently but never been harmed. In fact, just about all of them will scatter at the first sign of humans.

The only aggressive snake is a cottonmouth; they will advance on you if threatened, however, they are a diminishing species, mostly in the swampy areas.

Now, if you want something really to be frightened about, I submit to you the penultimate danger in Florida, a species so scary that even grownups cringe, women recoil, babies cry; to wit, a Canadian tourist wearing bermuda shorts, sandals with black socks, sunburned from head to toe, driving a rented car while trying to read a roadmap.

It make me shiver and want to curl up with a snake for safety.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 12:36PM
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Richard78(10a-Ft. Lauderdale)

Speaking of water moccasins, a woman was just bitten here in Broward.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 5:46PM
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