Black and orange snakes are common in North America. Various snake morphs include mostly black and orange coloring.
Some snakes have black speckles, orange speckles, or similar lines.
Others have blotches and scales that include these colors.
Ring-necked snakes are also known for having orange ring-like marks around their necks.
Black and orange snakes are found in a vast number across the US.
Western, Southern, and Eastern states are the areas where these snakes are found in the highest numbers.
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Are Snakes with Black and Orange Color Venomous?
Black and orange snakes can be venomous or non-venomous.
Their coloring doesn’t separate venomous from non-venomous species.
Furthermore, black and orange snakes can also be mildly-venomous. This is a group of snakes known for having venomous saliva.
While not deadly or life-threatening, mildly venomous black and orange snakes are still known for painful bites which can result in irritation or rashes.
Venomous bites of black and orange snakes require medical attention and hospitalization.
Types of Black and Orange Snakes
The following species of snakes are known to be mostly black and orange or they can be known to come in a black and orange morph.
1. Common Garter Snake
Scientific name: Thamnophis sirtalis
Common name: Common garter snake
Common Garter snakes on the Coast of California are known to be black and white.
These snakes have mostly black coloring with orange lines on the sides and one central white dorsal line.
These snakes aren’t venomous but they have venomous saliva. They use it against a wide range of small prey.
Toxins in the saliva of the Common Garter snake are used both in defense and against prey. The toxicity of this snake is used to resist other toxic secretions such as those of toads and salamander.
Common Garter snakes are found in an extended habitat.
They live in forests, fields, and wetlands.
Snakes of this genus are common in many Southern regions, including Florida.
Common Garter snakes eat birds, rodents, and worms.
Common Garter snakes are also ideal prey for a wide range of predators.
Young and small Common Garter snakes are often eaten by bass and catfish.
2. Ring-necked Snake
Scientific name: Diadophis punctatus
Common name: ring-necked snake, ringneck snake
Ring-necked snakes come in a wide range of color combinations.
Black and orange are the common morphs of the species. Ring-necked snakes can have an orange ring around the neck and an orange underbelly with a black dorsal.
Snakes of this genus are small as they grow to a full adult size between 10 and 15 inches.
They have widespread US distribution but remain elusive due to their secretive nature.
Snakes of this genus are known to hide away underground. They prefer to hide under piles of leaves, rocks, or wood.
Ring-necked snakes are some of the smallest predator snake species in North America with venomous saliva.
These snakes use their saliva against invertebrates. Lizards are a common meal of Ring-necked snakes.
The mating habits of the species remain elusive except for the laid eggs.
Female Ring-necked snakes mate at the beginning of the summer and they lay anywhere between 2 and 7 eggs that hatch a few months later.
Most Ring-necked snakes in the US aren’t black and orange.
This morph is rare as most snakes of this genus have a gray color with a yellow to the orange underbelly and a similarly colored ring around the neck.
3. Plain-bellied Watersnake
Scientific name: Nerodia erythrogaster
Common name: plain-bellied watersnake, plainbelly watersnake
Plain-bellied Watersnakes have multiple morphs from gray to black. They are often seen in a black and orange underbelly morph as well as in a gray and orange or gray and yellow color.
As their name implies, Plain-bellied Watersnakes live in aquatic environments.
They are found in rivers, ponds, and swamps.
Snakes of this genus live in different habitats in other regions as well. For example, they are seen in Florida’s cypress strands alongside the state’s rivers.
Plain-bellied Watersnakes mostly feed on aquatic species as a result of their aquatic nature.
Fish and amphibians are among the most common types of prey for this snake.
Freshwater fish is preferred by Plain-bellied Watersnakes.
These large snakes are also known for being good predators as they don’t have constricting capacity.
The swelling fish and amphibians are alive.
Snakes of this genus reproduce near the same habitat.
Unlike other non-venomous species, these snakes give birth to live young which may resemble adults in coloring or which may be brown at first.
Female Plain-bellied Watersnakes give birth to a large number of up to 25 living snakes each year, but only after they reach sexual maturity as this can take years.
4. Western Terrestrial Garter Snake
Scientific name: Thamnophis elegans
Common name: Western terrestrial garter snake
Western Terrestrial Garter Snakes grow to a maximum length of 41 inches.
These snakes come in many morphs. A mostly orange morph is seen with black speckles and white dorsal stripes.
This species is found in Western North America, as its name implies.
Snakes of this species are only mildly venomous as only their saliva is venomous.
Still, there are a few cases where the bite of the Western Terrestrial Garter Snake bite has led to skin reactions such as irritation and rashes.
This snake is one of the few garter snakes known to use constriction against its prey.
The Western Terrestrial Garter Snake is considered a weak species compared to other constricting snakes.
Some of its attempts to constrict prey are in vain.
It’s also believed this species takes longer to suffocate prey by constriction compared to other garter snakes.
Particularities of these garter snake species also include good adaptability to different habitats.
Most people know the Western Terrestrial Garter Snake as a terrestrial species.
However, it’s also found next to the water in some areas.
Both lowlands and high altitude habitats such this snake species.
It’s believed the Western Terrestrial Garter Snake is also aquatic around the Sierra Nevada.
This snake species is reported in aquatic habitats such as ponds, lakes, and rivers in certain areas of Western North America.
5. Western Ribbon Snake
Scientific name: Thamnophis proximus
Common name: Western ribbon snake
The Western Ribbon snake is a species identified by its long orange stripe on its dorsal.
Western Ribbon snakes are mostly brown or black, with lateral yellow bands. Many morphs of this species are still seen with a top dorsal orange line.
Often confused with the Orange Striped Ribbonsnake, this snake species is very common in the US.
It lives in an expanded habitat near water and dry areas as well.
Sandy terrains are also seen as a good habitat for this species.
Forest and habitats near water are known to be among the favorites of the Western Ribbon Snake, mainly for the availability of toads, frogs, and salamander.
The final coloring of the developing Western Ribbon snake depends on its habitat and state. This snake might appear different from Illinois to Indiana.
Western Ribbon snakes are known to eat small fish as they grow. Food availability and habitat influence its appearance.
Adults of the species grow to a varying maximum size.
An adult Western Ribbon snake can measure 17 inches but it can also measure 50 inches among the largest examples of the species.
The snake is most likely to be seen in the spring when males and females get together to mate.
Riparian zones or the dense vegetation areas around water are the best places to find these snakes, although they can be aggressive during the mating season.
Females give birth to live young snakes. This typically occurs a few months later, towards the end of the summer.
6. Banded Watersnake
Scientific name: Nerodia fasciata
Common name: Banded watersnake, Southern watersnake
Banded Watersnakes are commonly found in a black and orange morph, albeit with brown coloring as well.
This snake species is seen in mostly black color with irregular orange patterns, somewhat similar to Copperheads.
Snakes of this species are slightly larger than Western Ribbon snakes. They grow to a maximum size between 24 and 48 inches.
Snakes of this genus are highly common in the vegetation around water sources. This snake is often seen on overhanging water vegetation where it looks out for fish.
Shallow bodies of water are preferred by the snake as fish are easier to spot here.
Females of the genus give birth to at least 15 live young in the summer.
7. Eastern Milksnake
Scientific name: Lampropeltis triangulum
Common name: Eastern Milksnake, milk snake, milksnake
Eastern milksnakes have a red body with brown bands separated by yellow, or orange bands.
These snakes are commonly found in open areas such as farmland, crops, prairies, and meadows.
One of the common myths about the species that inspired their name was the fact these snakes eat milk.
They have a varied diet and a varied habitat. Eastern Milksnakes can even be seen outside open areas in woodlands and dense vegetation.
One of the main reasons for this snake to prefer open areas to wooded areas is the availability of small mammals.
Eastern Milksnakes commonly eat rodents such as field rats.
Snakes of this genus can vary in coloring according to the habitats it lives in.
One of the common morphs for Eastern Milsnakes living in woodlands is a red-brown color with dark gray and black bands across its body.
8. Red-bellied Snake
Scientific name: Storeria occipitomaculata
Common name: red-bellied snake, redbelly snake
Red-bellied snakes are seen in different morphs including a black and orange version.
The darker side of the morph is always dorsal of the Red-bellied snake. In this case, this is the black dorsal.
The underbelly of this species is always lighter in color and sometimes orange, pink, tan, or brown.
Forest is the most common habitat for these snakes.
Depending on their region, these snakes can sometimes be confused with the Brown snake.
However, you can find the Red-bellied snake in woodlands across Eastern states except for Florida.
This species can also live at a higher altitude above forests in open fields.
Snakes of this genus can populate almost any mountainous area in Eastern US as long as they find slugs to feed on.
9. Eastern Hognose Snake
Scientific name: Heterodon platirhinos
Common name: Eastern hog-nosed snake, spreading adder, spread’em outer, hog-nosed snake, adder.
The orange morph of the Eastern Hognose snake comes with black patterns and yellow coloring around them.
This is the less common version of the snake that typically has a darker coloring of gray or even black dorsal with a patterned body.
Snakes of this genus have a medium size compared to other species as they grow up to 41 inches.
The upturned snout of this species makes for easy identification.
A capacity to play dead and fake bites is what makes this species popular.
Eastern Hognose snakes are known to fake strikes to ward off predators.
They can also roll over and remain motionless to appear dead and to steer potential predators away.
Eastern Hognose snakes are very common in Eastern states.
Woodlands with sandy terrains are among their favorite habitats although the species are even found in coastal areas.
10. Eastern Worm Snake
Scientific name: Carphophis amoenus
Common name: Eastern Worm Snake
Eastern Worm snakes come in different morphs. A black dorsal and an orange underbelly is one of the common morphs of the genus.
These snakes live underground and this reflects in their reduced size.
Eastern Worm snakes only grow to a maximum length of 13 inches.
Almost all snakes of this type are found very close to woodlands. They also live in coastal areas with woodlands.
Eastern Worm Snakes aren’t easy to spot since they’re a fossorial species.
These snakes hide in the ground, under leaves, under logs, and on rocks.
They come out seeking food such as small birds and lizards.
Female Eastern Worm snakes lay anywhere between 1 and 12 eggs after mating.
11. Northwestern Garter Snake
Scientific name: Thamnophis ordinoides
Common name: Northwestern garter snake
The Northern Garter snake is one of the Garter snakes with high color variation. It comes in a black and orange morph where an orange line is visible on top of its dorsal.
Snakes of this genus can swim but they live on the ground as well.
They are known for having poisonous saliva used against small animals and fish. This saliva poses to threat to humans.
Snakes of this genus prefer to hide whenever they see people.
One of the easiest hiding spots for them is in the water where many predators and even people can’t follow them.
Northwestern Garter snakes are also known for releasing a musk-like odor whenever they are handled by people.
Snakes of this genus might swim but they don’t prefer fish to other foods.
They are seen eating slugs, worms, and snails most of the time.
12. Long-nosed Snake
Scientific name: Rhinocheilus lecontei
Common name: Long-nosed snake
The Long-nosed snake is sometimes seen in orange and black blotched with a white underbelly.
Most Long-nosed snakes are confused with coral snakes but they aren’t venomous.
This snake species grows to a size of 22 to 32 inches and it’s known for its slender body.
Snakes of this genus also exhibit an upturned snout.
Mostly spending its time underground, this is a nocturnal species that is only seen when out for food.
The burrowing snake lives underground, mostly in rodent burrows.
While it lives in burrows of rodents, it doesn’t prefer to eat rodents over other species.
Lizards remain the preferred food of the Long-nosed snake.
Snakes of this genus prefer not to engage with people. They don’t bite and they aren’t aggressive.
Long-nosed snakes use their cloaca to release a foul smell to keep predators away.
They release the same bad smell when handled by people.
Unlike other species that release a foul smell, Long-nosed snakes can also release blood when they believe they are in front of a potential predator.
These self-defense mechanisms are preferred to biting.
Reproductive characteristics of the species resemble other snakes in North America. These snakes mate and lay eggs that hatch late in the summer.
13. Plains Garter Snake
Scientific name: Thamnophis radix
Common name: plains garter snake
The Plains Garter snake is identified by a mostly black body with white scales and a bright orange line on the central dorsal.
This species has an olive-green head with white specks on the sides.
Plains Garter snakes are some of the most prolific garter breeders. Up to 60 young snakes emerge each season following mating.
The size of the snake is smaller than the average North American species. These snakes grow to a maximum length between 15 and 28 inches.
They can be seen across various habitats which include both dry and wet areas.
Plains Garter snakes are seen in marshes and near lakes and ponds.
They are also common in meadows and they can be found hiding under large rocks or logs.
The diet of this species is also vast. From tadpoles to salamanders, this snake doesn’t refuse any type of amphibian or invertebrate.
14. Aquatic Garter Snake
Scientific name: Thamnophis atratus
Common name: Aquatic garter snake
Aquatic Garter snakes come in multiple morphs. Most of these morphs have white speckles or marks on the sides of the body.
There’s an Aquatic Garter snake morph that’s all black with a single orange line running across the center of its dorsal.
These snakes live near water such as streams and rivers in meadows. They are also found in rocky areas where streams make their way around large rocks as long as there’s a riparian zone.
Snakes of this genus are non-venomous. They swallow prey alive as they cannot constrict it.
These snakes are known for their small litter.
It’s not uncommon for only 3 young snakes to emerge after a mating season.
15. Black-necked Gartersnake
Scientific name: Thamnophis cyrtopsis
Common name: black-necked gartersnake, blackneck gartersnake
The Black-necked Gartersnake has a dark color body. This is either olive or black with a bright yellow or orange line that runs from head to tail.
This species is highly common in Arizona where it prefers to live in proximity to water.
Its habitat includes grassland and desert scrub.
Snakes of this genus prefer to live next to shallow water where they can easily move around and find the next meal.
Black-necked Gartersnakes eat frogs, lizards, and tadpoles.
Most active at night, the species might also be seen at dusk on warm summer days.
Snakes of this genus aren’t seen in the winter when they hide and hibernate.
16. Ground Snake
Scientific name: Sonora semiannulata
Common name: ground snake, western ground snake, common ground snake, variable ground snake, miter snake
The Ground snake comes in black and orange stripes morph.
Ground snakes grow to a maximum length of 12 inches and they have slender agile bodies.
These snakes prefer to hide in the ground or under logs but they’re seen more than other species as they can be diurnal.
Ground snakes live on the ground, as their name implies. They need moisture and leaves, vegetation, or rocks in their habitat to hide.
These snakes live in some of the most remote locations where there are all types of spiders they can feed on. They also consume centipedes and other insects.
Ground snakes are also eaten by other species, mainly snakes. Birds also eat young Ground snakes.
17. Gray-banded Kingsnake
Scientific name: Lampropeltis alterna
Common name: gray-banded kingsnake, alterna, Davis Mountain king snake
Gray-banded Kingsnakes come in various colors including gray, black, and orange.
Darker morphs of the Gray-banded Kingsnakes are more likely to display orange coloring alongside dark gray.
These snakes are found in states such as New Mexico and their size varies as much as their coloring.
Gray-banded Kingsankes grow to a maximum size of a few inches up to 3 feet.
Common in habitats with limestone, this snake isn’t seen easily as it prefers desert regions of the Southern states.
It feeds on various prey including rats, lizards, birds, and bird eggs.
This non-venomous snake is rather secretive through its nocturnal activity as well.
It can sometimes be found together with venomous snakes which makes some people believe it has a venomous bite.
The Gray-banded Kingsnake is immune to other venomous snake bites.
18. Sand Snake
Scientific name: Chilomeniscus stramineus
Common name: Sand snake
This snake is known for its reduced size and its shiny black and orange body.
Black and orange dorsal saddles make this species stand out in the deserts of the South it prefers to live in.
This species is a burrower snake which means it prefers to hide in the ground.
It’s also a nocturnal species which makes it a rare sight.
Sand snakes eat cockroaches, centipedes, and other bugs or insects.
These snakes are very hard to find in their natural habitat and most sightings are tied to desert roads at night.