Nothing is ever certain with snake colors.
The animal kingdom definitely has breakable rules when it comes to snake colors and patterns.
Generally, black and yellow snakes in Texas are non-venomous.
But not always
There is a lot of mimicry with snakes. Sometimes they are not what they appear to be.
So you always want to be careful, even if you’re certain you’re dealing with a harmless variety.
That said, let’s find out what that Texan yellow and black snake could be and whether it is something you should be worried about.
Table of Contents
- 1 Black And Yellow Snakes Of Texas
- 2 Are Black And Yellow Snakes Poisonous?
- 3 Black And Yellow Snakes – Essentially Just Looking For Food And Shelter
Black And Yellow Snakes Of Texas
Texas has many birds and animals that are native to the state as well as some introduced species. The Lone Star State also has a variety of habitats to provide the ideal home for all the animals, birds and snake species they have.
There ARE Venomous Snakes In Texas
There are about 142 species of animals in Texas. And there are more than 115 different species and subspecies of snakes. Texans are glad to know that of these different snakes, only about 15 of them are dangerous to humans.
Some of the venomous snakes include:
- Texas Coral Snake
‘Live by the Sword, die by the Sword’ and ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ are old proverbs which apply to how we treat snakes. It is much smarter to avoid being bitten by a snake in the first place, than to have to rush to a hospital to have it treated – and that’s assuming they have anti-venom.
There are many tips on the Internet on how to avoid snakebites. Learning to identify the poisonous snakes of Texas is one sure way to stay safe. And then leaving them alone, of course.
No Snakes Species Known As ‘Yellow And Black Snake’
You’ll find snakes throughout the state of Texas. In fact, of the 254 counties in Texas, every one of them has snakes.
Yes, there are bound to be black and yellow snakes in Texas. And there are no doubt plain black snakes and plain yellow snakes too.
So while Texas does have black and yellow snakes, it doesn’t have a snake species known as the ‘Black and Yellow Snake’. The state does have multiple snakes which have both black and yellow colors in them.
Look at the Mojave Rattlesnake, for instance, found in West Texas. It’s a highly venomous pit viper found also in other states such as Arizona, Nevada, and southern New Mexico. It is a pale black/grey color with yellow.
The Timber Rattlesnake has a pale yellow background color and a black tail. The range of this snake extends through most of the United States.
It’s a venomous snake and, if disturbed, is considered dangerous. In fact, if you were to meet this snake in the wild, you’d be the best leave it alone.
Despite the name, it does not commonly climb trees. Read “Do Rattlesnakes Climb Trees?” for more.
Dangerous as these snakes are, they are an important part of the food chain, limiting rodent populations. It is terrible to think that because humans relentlessly kill them, conservation efforts have had to be implemented.
Plains Garter Snake
Then there is the Plains Garter Snake, found in most of the central United States and as far south as Texas. It has a very distinctive yellow stripe from its head to tail, with the rest of its body being a gray-blackish color. It is a mildly venomous snake with the venom not being toxic to humans.
There are also Coral snakes in Texas and these are venomous. Apart from the bright yellow and black bands on this snake, there is also a red band. People often refer to them as black and yellow snakes.
One species is even called the Texan Coral Snake. It is also found in neighboring Louisiana and made out list of the types of snakes in Louisiana.
Black Necked Garter Snake
Another yellow and black snake that is found in Texas is the Black Necked Garter Snake. It’s a fascinating looking snake with pitch black blotches with a yellow stripe which separates the blotches. The black-necked garter snake isn’t a protected species in Texas.
Are Black And Yellow Snakes Poisonous?
No, most likely not, not in Texas anyway. There are poisonous black and yellow snakes in other parts of the world. The Yellow and Black Banded Krait from Thailand is an example, with its yellow and black crossbands.
They’re also shy snakes, mainly nocturnal and don’t wish to encounter humans. It’s a venomous snake with the venom containing neurotoxins. Get bitten by this snake and you’ll have dizziness, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Severe envenomation can lead to respiratory failure and death.
Not every snake in Texas is venomous, and all yellow and black snakes, venomous or not, have an important role in the Texas ecosystem. Envenomation is a defensive mechanism for all snakes who use biting and spitting as last resorts. Snakes don’t look for humans – rather they try to avoid them as much as possible.
Black And Yellow Snakes – Essentially Just Looking For Food And Shelter
Black and yellow snakes in general, occur around homes and in gardens in Texas and are essentially just looking for shelter and food – rats and lizards. The Ringneck snake is such a beautiful snake from Texas. It is a mildly venomous snake, but not to humans. It’s a harmless small colubrid snake with a number of subspecies.
It is fairly easy to identify the Ringneck with its bright underside coloration. It starts off as bright yellow at the head and becomes reddish at the tail.
The bright underside is covered with lots of black spots. When they go into defense mode, they curl up their tails and expose a bright red underside.
If you don’t want yellow-and-black-type snakes coming into your home and garden, keep your garden and home clutter-free. Keep storage areas as clean and neat as possible.
Black and yellow snakes come in all shapes and sizes and they are adept at finding their way through the smallest of openings. Black and yellow snakes are more common in the rural areas of Texas. People in these areas simply need to exercise caution as to where they put their hands and feet.
If you see a black and yellow snake and you can’t identify it, there are many professional snake experts in Texas who will gladly come out and remove the snake for you. There is no need to kill it.
Are Texas King Snakes Poisonous?
Texas has a number of King Snake varieties such as the Texas Indigo Snake and the Desert Kingsnake which is native to Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. It’s an attractive looking snake: very dark brown or black with yellow or off-white flecks. The abdomen of the snake is essentially black with white or pale yellow blotches.
Reaching about 4 feet in length, its diet is made up of rodents as well as other snakes, and that includes Rattlesnakes. Ranchers welcome them onto their properties because they know that the rodent population will be kept in check.
The Texas King Snake is docile, and it is also non-venomous. If they do encounter humans, instead of trying to escape they will twist over onto the backs and make as if they are dead.
Some Snakes Use Deception
There are no hard and fast rules for a person to decide whether a snake is venomous or not. You get yellow and black snakes that are poisonous and others that are entirely harmless. The only way to tell if a snake is venomous or not is to look at the snakes’ fangs and venom glands, but of course, that isn’t always possible.
The only other way is to do research on the snakes in your area and to find out which snakes are endemic to the area. With this knowledge, you can know how to deal with the snake.
If you live in Texas, a book like Texas Snakes: A Field Guide can be of great value and you can also do research on the Internet. You may, for instance, find that there are some harmless black and yellow snakes in Texas that rattle their tails like Rattlesnakes.
The Texas Indigo snake is a typical example of a copycat snake. It’s a non-venomous snake found in Texas, and to ward off humans, the snake will release an unpleasant musky smell.
If humans ignore this as a warning sign, the snake will flatten its head and shake its tail like a Rattlesnake to make it appear like a venomous snake.
The best defense against venomous snakes is to simply avoid them. In Texas, there are a couple of deaths that occur each year because of ignorance surrounding the identification of, and habits of, these reptiles.
It’s a large task to familiarize yourself with all the snakes of Texas, so your best bet is to learn to identify the venomous ones.
Get To Know The Venomous Snakes – They’re Outnumbered
Texans are familiar with the fact that snakes are more active during Summer. We’ve already said that Texas is home to many snake species and subspecies, and out of the 115 subspecies and 75 species found slithering around Texas, only 15% are poisonous.
Then again, some of the non-venomous snakes are ‘look-alikes’ of those 15% poisonous snakes. If you live in Texas, it would be wise to get to know the most venomous snakes in Texas: Coral Snakes, whose venom doesn’t affect their victims instantly after being bitten; the Cottonmouth which is a pit viper; the Copperhead; and the Rattlesnake.
Black and yellows snakes of Texas aren’t a threat – they’re mostly harmless. If, however, you can’t identify the yellow or black snakes that come into your garden, or even if you recognize a Rattlesnake, don’t be so quick to kill. As it is, bites often happen when people try to move snakes without the necessary skills.
Call a snake expert in Texas who will safely remove the snake for you so that it can continue to fill its important ecological niche far from human interference.