Can this snake be identified

Snake. Central South Carolina, in a river floodplain. My personal opinion is that the pic is of such poor quality that the answer is “no.”

Looks like Ralph.

= = =

I would generally agree that the photo quality is not quite good enough for a solid identification. If I were to guess, I would go for a black racer on the grounds that the head does not look like that of a hog-nosed, but I am not familiar with rat snakes or king snakes, so I could not rule them out.

With that long body, yeah, I’d agree with Tom. Black racer.

King snakes have prominent white speckles on their belly, western kings have white stripes. Racer or rat snake, I think. If the pictured snake was on the move: racer. If it froze in that series of s-curves: rat snake.

AKA Black Rat Snake. I concur; given size and location, it fits size, body form, and coloration criteria.

Well, it’s obvious that it has no hips so I can’t understand why you are interested.

My vote is black rat snake too, but considering the photo quality it could be a coachwhip or green water snake via bad photo contrast.


To expand: body too thick for racer, also head more rounded and not elevated in typical racer ‘periscope’ posture; dark coloration with blotchy patterning; zig-zag ‘lightning bolt’ aspect when surprised; all suggest rat snake.

Thanks for the responses. The guy who took this pic, who actually would have seen it in real life, “identified” it as. . . a copperhead
I didn’t think it was one, but I also didn’t think it would be easy to narrow it down, given the quality.

That’s like identifying a race horse as a bear.:smiley:

Yeah, I’m just not seeing copperhead here. The genus *Agkistrodon *(Copperhead, Water Moccasin, and the Cantil outside the USA) are short coupled, chunky snakes. While this guy looks far too thick to be a racer, it isn’t nearly chunky enough for copperhead either.

Coachwhips are racers, so I’ll discount them too. Garter snakes fit the profile pictured, but I’d expect to see a greenish color cast, lengthwise stripes, or both. The color rendition of this photo looks true, although lacking detail, so I think the blackish color and lack of stripes mitigates against garter snake. I might wrap my brain around a bull, pine or gopher snake (whatever local name is given to the genus Pituophis). But something about the texture doesn’t look right. *Pituophis *have heavily keeled scales, and this guy just looks awfully smooth and shiny to me. A rattle would be obvious in this picture, if one were present.

So I’ve about exhausted my mental inventory of larger snakes of that region, and come back where I started – rat snake.

Can anybody suggest one I’ve missed?

Looks more like a snakk to me.

Black rat snake.Copperheads.

No, Ralph’s not that big. I’m thinking Cuddles.

The mis-identification of snakes as copperheads is pretty common; a copperhead might look a little different, but has the advantage of making one’s story more dramatic, and that’s what counts most, in biology.

We used to have a neighbor who killed every snake he saw and threw them into OUR yard, apparently so we’d recognize his prowess in snake-killing. He described every single one as a “copperhead,” even ones that looked different from the last “copperhead” he’d killed. Apparently one of the most dangerous things about “copperheads” is their ability to shapeshift.

Just the other day I saw that exact snake at my house. I was wondering what kind it was. What I really noticed about it was the peculiar bends in the body, rather than being either smoothly curved or straight. What is up with that waviness?

I live in Maryland, so that sucker can really get around.

They use the curves to push side-to-side for forward movement (Wikipediacall this “terrestrial lateral undulation”). Sometimes, you can match up the body shape to rocks, cracks or other things they’re pushing against, but sometimes not.

It’s definitely true that most snakes don’t have so many small curves even when they’re using this motion, but snakes vary in flexibility and movement styles. It’s likely that a relatively smooth brick patio is causing it to rely on pretty small irregularities to push off of.

Looks like the ripples correspond to the gaps in the bricks. He’s probably avoiding getting snagged.

Looks like a black racer, long and thin.


Stole my thunder! Don’t you have some kayaking to go do?


I’m just posting to say I was going to make the same “joke” except using Jimmy (funnier in my opinion).

Beaten in one!

When I saved the pic, my first choice was “snake,” but I already had one that I didn’t want to overlay.
My second choice was “snak,” but I had one of them, too.
So, I called it “snakk.”
Photobucket doesn’t (currently) let you change file names, so snakk it started, and snakk it ended up.
Maybe if the snake had been white I might have named it “snakkk.”