does black snakes kill poisonous snakes

Does Black Snakes Kill Poisonous Snakes?

Black snakes are members of the Colubridae family, also known as colubrids, which is the most diverse family of snakes in the world. There are over 2,500 species of colubrids, many of which exhibit impressive defensive adaptations. Some species, such as the eastern rat snake, are known to eat venomous snakes. This begs the question: can black snakes kill poisonous snakes?

Do Black Snakes Eat Venomous Snakes?

Yes, some black snakes have been known to consume venomous snakes. In fact, the eastern rat snake is considered one of the most adept predators of venomous snakes in the world. The species has been found to have co-evolved with rattlesnakes and is able to consume them without suffering any ill effects. This ability is due in part to the snake’s thickly scaled body and small eyes, which protect it from the venom of rattlesnakes.

How Do Black Snakes Kill Poisonous Snakes?

Black snakes are also adept at killing poisonous snakes through other means. They are able to sense the vibrations of their prey, allowing them to sneak up on the snake and deliver a quick, fatal bite. If the prey is too large or too venomous, black snakes may use a method known as the “constriction kill.” This involves tightly wrapping its body around the prey until it suffocates.

Are Black Snakes Poisonous?

No, black snakes are not poisonous. While some species possess mild venom, it is not potent enough to be dangerous to humans. In fact, black snakes are beneficial to have around as they help keep rodent populations, like those of rats, in check.


Black snakes are capable of consuming some venomous snakes, such as rattlesnakes. They are able to do this thanks to their thickly scaled bodies and small eyes, and may also use the “constriction kill” method to dispatch of their prey. While black snakes are not venomous themselves, they are beneficial to have around as they help reduce rodent populations.

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