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Identifying Black Snake

Discussion in 'Snakes - General' started by Scio777, May 14, 2016.

  1. Scio777

    Scio777 Member

    I’d like to identify this snake spotted yesterday Black snake smaller.jpg I’d like to identify this snake spotted yesterday in Clearwater, FL. It is black with a white chin. I think the belly (I forgot to look) was black with no coloration.

    Perhaps it is a Black Rat Snake (Elaphe obsoleta obsoleta) or Southern Black Racer (Coluber constrictor priapus).

    It doesn't have the maroon skin coloration of an Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi).

    Any ideas? Thanks for your feedback
  2. Qwerty3159

    Qwerty3159 Elite Member

    Definitely a racer.
    A very nice looking one, too. Great photo!
  3. Scio777

    Scio777 Member

    Thanks, Querty3159. He was a beautiful critter.
  4. toddnbecka

    toddnbecka Well Established Member

    Black belly with a white or yellow chin is a racer, white belly is a black rat snake. Black rats usually have at least a little white showing along the upper body as well, racers are all black. Also have a rounder body shape, rat snakes of any type are shaped more like a loaf of bread.
  5. Scio777

    Scio777 Member

    Thanks, toddnbecka. That is very helpful and differentiates the species nicely. Snakes are amazingly well adapted evolutionarily for mobility, stealth, and prey stalking. They are streamlined wonders, so to speak.
    From time-to-time (pardon the thread drift), we have also seen around the building a magnificent specimen of what I think is an Eastern Indigo snake--big and black with a thick cross-section. Next time, I'll look for the characteristic burgundy coloring of the species.
    All snakes here like to travel right along the edge of the building behind the terraces and patios, front and back. Doing that provides three benefits, I would surmise: cover from predators, a cooler micro-environment away from the Florida sun, and proximity to prey--anoles--who like to sequester there.
    Elsewhere around here, I have seen green snakes and garter snakes on the golf course. We also occasionally have pygmy rattlers about, though I've never seen one. They are said to have a more potent venom to compensate for their smaller size (less venom volume per strike?). Decades ago, when this condo complex was built on the original florida land, there were many episodes of pygmy rattlers sheltering in the cooler central walk-throughs of the condo buildings, since their habitat had been disturbed. Took a while until they were cleared out and sightings diminished.

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