Sunday, August 2, 2009

I have several black snakes under my deck. Will they hurt my puppy/are they mean to people teeth or strike at

Ok. There are NO venomous snakes in the U.S. that are completely black. Yes, Water mocassins (cottonmouths) will get very dark as they age, but there are always markings on the face and body, maybe muddy, maybe hard to see, but there.

You didn't mention sizes of either the snakes or your puppy, or where you live so I'll do my best here, all off the top of my head, and starting with smallest.....

Ringneck snakes:

Not quite all black, they have a narrow band around their neck, either reddish, orangeish, or yellowish, these (depending on subspecies) reach about 20 inches TOPS and feed on earthworms, slugs, other snakes, ant larvae, and other things they find under rocks (where you are most likely to find them.)

Black racers:

Slender, charcoal to black coloration, usually with a white chin and/or underbelly. Usually not more than 5 and a half feet. These eat anything they can catch that will fit down their throats, and are highly defensive. This does not mean they will chase you, it means if you corner them they will defend themselves, if you get between them and where they want to hide, they will run right under your feet to get to their hiding spot (making people think they're being chased).

Black Ratsnake:

Um... not native to my area, another black snake with a white chin (if I remember the one we had years ago correctly....) not an overly large snake, as the name suggests, they eat rats and mice, but will also take birds and other small animals from time to time.

Eastern Indigo:

Very heavy-bodied, glossy blue-black snake, sometimes with red chin and throat. Unless you are in the southeast U.S. I doubt this is your snake. These are very mellow snakes, and are protected by federal law. Even people who hate snakes tend to like indigos, they are very well known for eating other snakes... even venomous species.

My suggestion? Go to the library and check out, or go to a bookstore and buy a field guide to your local snakes, if you've seen one snake, you will see more, and being able to identify the snakes you see if you see them on a regular basis, lets you know whether you should be worried about kids or puppies or anything else for that matter.

Oh, btw, the only way you will get bitten by a snake is if you are trying to catch or kill it or otherwise put yourself in a position to be bitten, snakes (at least in north america) do NOT "Hunt" people. No promises if you corner them, though....

I have several black snakes under my deck. Will they hurt my puppy/are they mean to people teeth or strike at
it depends on what type of snake they are.

even if they are not venomous, a snake bite can seriously injure a pup or get infected.

Have them removed.

Reply:I hope this is a joke question but...

I would suggest you call animal control ASAP. The the snakes could be poisonous. I would be very careful.
Reply:How creepy. Get rid of them immediately. Where do you live where snakes can gather under your deck?
Reply:Without a better description, I'm just guessing here...If the snakes are black rat snakes, then, they are not venomous. They are constrictors but they can still bite, if provoked. Most snakes would prefer to "run" rather than fight, when encountered by humans. Usually, these snakes are pretty harmless. They eat rodents and even other, sometimes venomous, snakes. How big is your puppy and how big are the snakes? If the puppy' is very small (close to a rat's size), then, I might be a little concerned.
Reply:There are no venomous snakes in the US that are all-black. Chances are, these are either Black Rat Snakes(Elaphe obsoletta) or Black Racers(Coluber constrictor). Both are harmless to humans AND dogs, even a small dog, unless someone sold you a rat and told you it was a puppy! Even a big Black Rat Snake would not be able to eat a dog. If the dog goes after the snake, the snake could strike in self-defense, since almost any animal with a mouth will bite if it feels threatened. A bite from such a non-venomous snake would not harm either a person or a dog; your puppy probably does more damage to you while playing rough than such snakes are capable of doing. Teach your puppy to avoid all snakes, just as you would teach it to avoid chewing wires, etc., so that if it does later encounter a venomous snake, it will leave it alone.

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