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Snake Identification Challenge of the Week: Two Closely Related But Very Different Looking Snakes

Hi David, 

I took these photos today. This snake had a really unique look to its tail, with crossing shiny stripes – but by its head, it had straight stripes that looked to run parallel to its body. It was nearly black in color on top, but very shiny, almost iridescent and with a white belly. I’m in western North Carolina. 

The piece of the snake hidden as it loops through the bushy grass is about 15″  so in total, it was probably somewhere around 3 feet long and at its fattest, it looked just slightly thinner than a “C” cell battery, but fatter than an “AA”. 

John A.
North Carolina

Can you please identify this snake for me please.he was very aggressive and did not like water I was spraying in tree it came out of one of the pockets from a cut limb when water was sprayed in tree.he is painted up with dots on the top side and the lime a on the bottom side.

Thank you.

Deanne T.

What Are These Snakes?

Snake Identification Post Ground Rules
-Guesses are welcome and encouraged. Don’t worry if you’re not an expert, wrong guesses allow us to talk about how to distinguish between the various species and that’s why I run these posts.
-If you can’t explain why you think a snake is a particular species, go ahead and just say what you think it is. But otherwise please do let us all know how you identified the animal. If you’re wrong, we can explain why. If you’re right, this helps everyone learn how to identify snakes, which is the point of these posts.

-This is not a pop quiz, any kind of research is encouraged and I hope you will engage with other commenters to try to figure these snakes out. I will eventually chime in with my thoughts.

-Assume I know what kind of snake is in the picture. I run these posts because they are outreach opportunities. Please don’t send me private e-mails with your guesses, include them below.

-Remember, the person that sent me the picture is probably reading your comments. Although it is frustrating to know that many of these snakes have been killed, these people do want to learn more about them. More snake knowledge will lead to fewer snakes being killed. Don’t hate, educate.

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