Black And White Snakes

Black And White Snakes: 10 Classic And Elegant Looking Serpents!

Black and white snakes may seem intimidating to a lot of people because they are expected to have fangs and be venomous. But, just to put it out there, not all black and white snakes spit venom from their mouth, even if they do possess fangs! In this article, you will read about 10 such gorgeous looking snakes that have an amazing lifestyle with interesting habits.

Black and white snakes could be either elapids, colubrids or viperids. Elapids are venomous snakes with large fangs protruding from or set deep inside their mouths. Viperidae family snakes are venomous too, whereas Colubrids are mostly harmless, non-venomous family of serpents. But remember though, there are black sheep in every family that defy all rules.

Can’t wait to meet them? Let’s wear our strong trailing boots and head for the forests!

Black And White Snakes: Nature’s Masters of Disguise And Mimicry

Did you know that snakes can play dead to defend themselves from predators or lure their prey? Or have you had any idea that the non-venomous ones mimic the behavior of venomous snakes in order to appear more intimidating? All this and much more in the following segments.

Malayan Krait (Bungarus Candidus)

Malayan Krait

Source: @chrisweeet

Bungarus genus snakes belong to the Elapidae family of venomous snakes. Malayan kraits are a species of the Bungarus genus which are also known by the name “blue kraits”. They have an overall white body with thick black blotches running across the width of their body like bands. They may be slightly yellowish in the underbelly region and close to the tail segments.

They can grow to about 40 inches long. The dorsal scales are organized in 15 rows, with the vertebral scales being slightly enlarged. There could be more than 200 scales in the ventral side of the snake’s body. Malayan kraits, as the name may have given away already, are mostly found in Java and Bali regions of Indonesia. They have been spotted in other parts of SE Asia.

They are highly venomous and must be handled and approached with great caution. When they bite to subdue rodents, the potent amount is 0.1 mg per kilogram. They may bite humans as well and it may lead to injuries that, if left untreated, could lead to fatality. Each venomous bite releases 5 mg of venom, whereas in order to subdue a human, 1 mg is more than enough.

Eastern Bandy Bandy (Vermicella Annulata)

Eastern Bandy Bandy

Source: @cnzdenek

Also known as hoop snakes, bandy bandy serpents belong to the genus Vermicella, and they are venomous as they are a member of the Elapidae family. There are currently 5 known species of bandy bandy and they are all endemic to Australia. They have a beautiful black and white appearance, with black as the background coloration, and white as bands over their body.

Eastern bandy bandy snakes are one of the species of this genus that thrive in the northern and eastern parts of Australia. They grow anywhere between 20 and 25 inches with very short tail regions. This species of bandy bandy has a pair of venomous fangs sitting at the front of their mouth ready to inject poison into the tissues of their victim or prey.

The venom injected by eastern bandy bandy snakes have proven to be lethal for humans that could lead to fatality. They are highly potent neurotoxins that make prey, even if they are venomous snakes, unable to resist the toxicity of the poison. These snakes are oviparous and they lay about 12 to 14 eggs in a clutch in the late parts of summer season.

These bandy bandy snakes have demonstrated ophiophagous tendencies, meaning they are cannibals and eat other snakes. Blind snakes of the family Typhlopidae are high in their dietary preferences. They are nocturnal foragers and they find their prey exclusively relying on their tongue to detect the smell of the victim. Similarly, they protect themselves from predators.

Malayan Bridle Snake (Lycodon Subannulatus)

Malayan Bridle Snake

Source: @jtonlau

Lycodon is a Greek word, where “lykos” means “wolf”, and “odon” means “tooth”. This is the reason why Lycodon snakes are also known as wolf snakes. Though they are non-venomous colubrids, they have large fang-like teeth on their jaws and that’s how they got the name. There are more than 70 species in the Lycodon genus, mostly living in Africa and Asia.

The Malayan bridle snake has a fantastic appearance with mostly a white body with intermittent black patterns running across their external form. Upon close observation, you will see their slender body resembling leather straps or bridle straps used to control horses. This is the solution to the mystery behind their name. They can grow up to 20 inches in length.

The other species in the genus may or may not have a black and white appearance. The Combo wolf snake, for instance, has a brown and white outlook. Mackinnon’s wolf snake has a mostly black body with striking yellow banded patterns running across the width of their body. Lycodon snakes like to gobble up lizards like geckos, and also frogs.

California Kingsnake (Lampropeltis Californiae)

California Kingsnake

Source: @dwight.good.snakes

Lampropeltis snakes are non-venomous colubrids that thrive exclusively in certain parts of the United States and Northern Mexico. They grow about 2 to 4 feet flaunting a magnificent brownish black appearance with white intermittent patterns decorating their whole body. From a distance, they look like thick black-and-white ropes. They have many color and pattern morphs.

California kingsnakes like elevated lands of more than 6000 feet. North-eastern Sierra Nevada mountains and Tehachapi Mountains see thriving populations of these species of kingsnakes. Grasslands, deserts, chaparrals, marshes and even suburban areas are visited and inhabited by these beautiful snakes. Because of their habitat diversity, they have a large number.

California kingsnakes are cathemeral, meaning, depending on appropriate temperature and humidity levels, they could remain active either during day or night hours. During the winter months, and when they molt, they hibernate which is called the brumation period. They are opportunistic feeders and would settle for rodents, birds, amphibians and other snakes.

They have a number of interesting self-defense techniques. Like most other kingsnakes, they secrete a musk-scented discharge from their body which seems to deter predators even though it is not toxic by any means. Another thing they do is mimic rattlesnakes by beating their tails swiftly on dry leaves to create an ominous rattling sound. They are oviparous or lay eggs.

Malayan Banded Wolf Snake (Lycodon Subcinctus)

Malayan Banded Wolf Snake

Source: @vipera_fangs

Another gorgeous black and white snake is the Malayan banded wolf snakes. Wolf snakes look and sound intimidating but they are harmless since they are non-venomous. However, they do have large fangs on their jaws that make them look like wolves. They are endemic to Asia and they have mostly a black body with triangular bands of white running intermittently on their body.

Malayan banded wolf snakes can often be spotted wiggling around in the depths of darkness on forest floors since they are, for the most part, nocturnal. Not only are they terrestrial, but they can also be seen climbing trees and coiling around tree branches staring down at the world with intimidation and contempt. They like both lowland and mountainous habitats.

They look a lot like the Malayan banded kraits bearing the scientific name Bungarus Candidus. Malayan kraits are, however, venomous and thus must not be confused with the snake in question. In Malayan kraits, the white bands are more distinct and compact, appearing at more frequent intervals than it does for the Malayan wolf snakes.

Eastern Ratsnake (Pantherophis Alleghaniensis)

Eastern Ratsnake

Source: @calvertmarinemuseum

Eastern ratsnake are a spectacle to behold! With large glistening black bodies, decorated with intermittent criss-crosses in white, these snakes look ravishing. At different angles of light, the body of the serpent glows and sparkles. They are non-venomous colubrids of the genus Pantherophis, endemic to certain parts of North America.

Floridian Apalachicola River and Georgian Chattahoochee River are frequented by the Eastern ratsnakes. Even the eastern side of the Appalachian foothills see these wriggling serpents almost all the time. Their lengths can range anywhere between 2 and 6 feet, weighing about 1 to 2 pounds, with males possessing longer tails than females.

Hardwood forests, farmlands, woodlots and even backyards of human households are visited and inhabited by Eastern kingsnakes. They like moist regions too, like the wetlands or edges of ponds and rivers. They are not only terrestrial but partially arboreal as well. They love to bask in the sun during the harsh winter mornings and afternoons.

During the spring and summer seasons, they are diurnal mainly because of their basking tendencies. In the winter, they frequent the outdoors after hours. Eastern ratsnakes may be spotted coiled around tree branches or entering water to experience the aquatic ecosystems and maybe taste what it has to offer. Holes and crevices are their favorite hiding spots.

Northeastern Hill Krait (Bungarus Bungaroides)

Northeastern Hill Krait

Source: @reptiles_of_world

Bungarus genus of snakes are venomous elapids, and the northern hill kraits are no exception. They look stunning with glimmering black bodies with dull, bangle-like white rings running along the width of their bodies. There are 15 longitudinal rows of dorsal scales, with the mid-body scales slightly more enlarged than the rest of the body. Top of their heads is flat and blunt.

South Asia and SE Asia are homes to these wild critters. Myanmar, India, Nepal and Vietnam see the thriving population of northeastern hill kraits. They are called hill kraits because they love elevated highlands of heights of 2000 meters or over 7000 feet! The hills and mountains in CherraPunjee, India and Tibet are natural habitats to these ferocious elapids. They are also called Himalayan kraits by the locals of South Asian communities.

There are certain look-alikes of these snakes, like the white-banded wolf snakes or the common kraits. These snakes are mostly nocturnal and have ophiophagous tendencies, meaning they feed on the flesh of other snakes. Rodents and frogs are also kept as a fringe dish. Temperate and mixed forests, and broad-leaf forests are their favorite places to hide and forage in.

Turtle-Headed Sea Snake (Emydocephalus Annulatus)

Turtle-Headed Sea Snake


Turtle-headed sea snakes are venomous elapids that exclusively live in the waters of Oceania in Australia and also in the water bodies surrounding islands like the Philippines and New Caledonia. These sea snakes have a slender build that gets flattened as they swim. They look gorgeous with white bodies and intermittent black rings running all over their body.

There are about 15 rows of dorsal scales on the bodies of turtle-headed sea snakes, with more than 120 ventral scales. They may grow up to 40 inches in length. These beautiful sea snakes have algae growing on their body at times that may affect the color of their body. The weight of the algae would affect their movement speed by about 20% in severe cases, but it is not fatal.

As these snakes live in the waters, their diet is designed by their aquatic surroundings. Eggs of damselfish and gobies are their favorite that seem to float near burrows and crevices. They do not change territory that frequently and often choose to stay near abundant food supplies. Unlike the other species of the genus, turtle-heads choose to eat smaller, more frequent meals.

Their reproduction process is quite interesting too and largely dictated by their aquatic habitat. Terrestrial snake mates find each other out using the pheromones that they release via their cloacal opening. This is not possible in case of sea snakes, so they utilize their excellent visual acumen to detect a suitable mate. The males nudge at the female to get her attention. Both males and females may get quite aggressive during the mating season due to competition.

Laotian Wolf Snake (Lycodon Laoensis)

Laotian Wolf Snake

Source: @the_herpist

Found on the grounds of the forests of Asia, Laotian wolf snakes are some marvelous looking serpents with glistening black bodies, and white and yellow intermittent bands running all over. Lycodon serpents are non-venomous colubrids that do not intimidate humans, being only 4 inches long at best. They are not even that aggressive and are not very interested in biting.

Countries like India, China, Vietnam, and even the northern parts of Pakistan see the thriving population of these beautiful snakes. The beauty of these snakes is that, though they are not venomous, they have large fangs jutted on their jaws that make them look frightening. They are the most active during the night time, found wriggling about looking for food on the ground.

Lowlands and hilly areas are the beloved habitats of these gorgeous looking snakes. Laos, Cambodia, and Peninsular Malaysia also see these wolf snake species in their forests and the foot of the mountains. They are not only terrestrial but arboreal too, with lizards and frogs being the top food items in their menu. Among lizards, geckos are their favorite munchies.

Gray Ratsnake (Pantherophis Spiloides)

Gray Ratsnake

Source: @cheloniagodwin

Gray ratsnakes are harmless, non-venomous colubrids, native to North America, thriving exclusively in the eastern and central parts of the United States. The Appalachian mountains and the edges of the Mississippi River are also frequented by these beautiful snakes. They have an overall gray and white look, with the white bands producing gorgeous patterns on the body.

Alternatively known as midland ratsnakes or chicken snakes, the gray rat snakes got their name from their exclusive dietary preference of rats. They can grow as long as 6 feet and variable habitats are frequented by these phenomenal looking serpents. Be it the top of hardwood trees or the moisture-laden grounds of cypress swamps, these snakes could be spotted anywhere.

Gray rat snakes are not afraid of humans and can be found in barns and close to human settlements. Besides feeding on rodents of all kinds, they also settle for birds, bird eggs, and even small mammals. They may lay more than 20 eggs at a time around mid-summer, with the babies hatching around September. Juveniles feed on lizards and frogs mainly.

Their defense strategies are awesome. When they feel threatened, they may be found lying motionless on the ground pretending to be dead. It is a hilarious aspect of their behavior but it actually works. They also bluff the attacker by raising its head and pretending to strike. They are masters of mimicry in the sense that they beat their tail-ends against leafy surfaces to create the dangerous sound of rattlesnakes approaching. Surely, they are something!


Are all black and white snakes venomous? No, of course not. They are masters of disguise owing to their body coloration that helps them to blend in, like ninjas, into the interplay of light and darkness of nature. They are also experts at mimicry and pretense. They pretend to lay dead or strike like king cobras when they do not have a single venomous bone in their body!

Black and white snakes could be either elapids or colubrids. Take the north-eastern hill kraits, for instance. They look stunning with their tuxedo appearance, all ready for a classic dinner party, when suddenly you find out they have fangs and can bite.

Or take the eastern rat snakes– they are large and intimidating but are harmless and non-venomous, pretending to be someone or something it is not, by mimicking some venomous species! Snakes could be humorous in their habits and preferences. They intimidate a lot of people but they never strike unless they are desperate. They are truly some critters to revere.

Hi dear readers! This is Rebecca, the lead analyst and blog writer for Snake Insider. Following in the footsteps of David’s guided path, I feel highly encouraged to make the most interesting snake-facts to a mass audience! In due time, I believe we’ll be able to present some jaw-dropping insight on snakes that’s sure to leave you begging for more! Personally, I’m a strongly motivated person to explore the most extreme environments should my work demand it. In many cases, I’ve ventured deep into territories that were never considered certain snake habitats and brought back necessary information. Rest assured I’ll surely be sharing them with you over the course of time.

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