Do Black Snakes Have Teeth

Do Black Snakes Have Teeth

Some snakes like the Rhabdophis Tigrinus steal their venom by eating toxic toads and storing the poison in special sacs. Plus, pregnant Rhabdophis Tigrinus can pass this venom along to their unborn children for self-defense.

Many, like Rattlesnakes, produce their own toxins for this unique defense mechanism. However, not all snakes have venom or fangs. Do black snakes have teeth?

There are at 7 species of black snakes that include Black Pine Snake, Black Rat Snake, Black Swamp Snake, Eastern Indigo Snake, Eastern Mud Snake, Southern Black Racer, and Southern Ring-necked Snake that all have around 100 tiny sharp teeth used to latch onto prey. Black snakes don’t have long venomous fangs in their mouth.

How Many Teeth Do Black Snakes Have

There are at least seven species of common black snakes in the USA. Most snake species that have teeth possess around a hundred, and they are often tiny.

Some snakes can have up to three hundred teeth, but these common black snakes tend to have the more normal amount.

The seven black snake species are; Black Pine Snake (Pituophis Melanoleucus), Black Rat Snake (Elaphe Obsoleta Obsolete), Black Swamp Snake (Seminatrix Pygaea), Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon Couperi), Eastern Mud Snake (Farancia Abacura), Southern Black Racer (Coluber Constrictor Priapus) and the Southern Ring-Necked Snake (Diadophis Punctatus punctatus).

Every one of these snakes has teeth, and I found no indication that any of them have the extra two or three hundred toothed mouths. Still, a hundred is a lot of teeth even without any extras.

Copperhead snakes and some other species can also appear black or have patterns that include black. Similarly, there are black snake species that have designs when they are younger.

If you encounter a snake in the wild, it’s best to back away slowly and leave it alone. Leave the identification to the professionals.

Do Black Snakes Have Fangs

Most black snakes have teeth but not fangs. A copperhead, which can appear black, though it is a patterned snake, has fangs.

Unfortunately, since ‘black snake’ is only a vague description and not a species, it depends greatly on which snake you are looking at.

One of the most famous ‘black snakes,’ the Black Mamba has fangs up to six and a half millimeters long.

While getting a toothy bite from a non-fanged black snake is never pleasant, just two drops of Black Mamba venom has a hundred percent mortality rate for humans, according to Live Science.

Luckily, these African snakes are not found in the USA, and most of the all-black or black-on-top snakes here are non-poisonous. Still, it’s best to avoid unnecessary risks where snakes are concerned.

Fangs vs Teeth

All fangs are teeth, but not all teeth are fangs, so any snake with fangs has teeth by default. A fang is a specialty tooth that serves a specific purpose, like a molar or a narwhal’s horn.

In mammals, fangs are elongated maxillary teeth that are meant to rip and tear into prey foods.

Unlike mammals, snakes’ fangs are not for chewing. Instead, snake fangs are always associated with venom. There are no nonvenomous snake fangs.

Resultantly, if you see fangs on a snake, that is a poisonous animal, and you should be especially careful, even when they are deceased.

A dead snakehead can still dispense venom because the snake’s biological process isn’t conscious or controlled, only the bite.

According to Kidzone, “Although most snakes have teeth, four rows on the top and two on the bottom, not all snakes have fangs… Fangs are sharp, long, hollow, or grooved teeth that are connected to a small sac in the snake’s head behind its eyes. These sacs produce a poisonous liquid called venom.”

Do Black Rat Snakes Have Teeth

Black rat snakes are the largest rat snakes, and they have teeth. Fortunately for the humans who encounter this species in the wild, back rat snakes are naturally shy and prefer to avoid people and confrontations.

In short, they can’t eat you, and they don’t want to be eaten, so they stay away.

People mistake black rat snakes for copperheads, but the two species are easy to tell apart if you know what to look for.

The teeth, if you can see them, are an essential clue. A copperhead snake has four fangs, tow on the top and two on the bottom, to inject venom in its prey.

Alternatively, the rat snake has rows of tiny, sharp teeth that it occasionally uses to bite its prey. However, this snake is a constrictor and will wrap around its victim, squeezing first. Only after that does a rat snake employ its teeth.

If you scare or harm a rat snake, it may bite you. While there’s no concern over venom, their mouths aren’t very hygienic, and it is vital to clean out the punctures and dress the wound appropriately.

Do Black Racer Snakes Have Teeth

Black racer snakes have lots of small razor-sharp teeth like rows of needles. Unlike their relatively reticent cousins, the rat snakes, black racers are quick to defend themselves with their teeth.

Not only will they bite if they can’t race away, but they will do so repeatedly, and they have powerful jaws.

This species is often confused with cottonmouths because of its general shape, size, and where it lives. Luckily, black racers are nonvenomous and have no fangs.

Racers are also mistaken for rat snakes, but the rat snake has a keeled scale with a ridge in the middle while racer scales are smooth.

Do Black Garter Snakes Have Teeth

Black garter snakes have rows of tiny teeth but no fangs. It takes a lot of provocation to get these relatively calm snakes to bite, but they are capable of it. Garter snakes are considered mostly harmless.

Most garters are so shy that you can live right beside them and never know it. They don’t tend to attack pets and prefer their solitary lives.

However, if you get bitten by a garter snake, you should clean the wound immediately, and you may need a tetanus shot.

Helpful Tips To Know If Black Snakes Have Teeth

Not all snakes have teeth, but a lot of them do, like most black snakes. Even snakes that only have fangs technically possess teeth since fangs are just unique teeth that inject venom.

Here are more helpful tips to know if black snakes have teeth.

  • Many people mistakenly believe that garter snakes have no teeth because they are so small. You can even look right at a garter and not notice them, but they are there nonetheless.
  • Pet snakes sold in pet stores do not have fangs. Carrying a venomous snake is too much of a liability for most retail pet stores to risk. Plus, there are often special permits involved in buying, owning, and handling venomous snakes.
  • Even if a snake has no fangs or teeth, you should never pick up a wild animal.
  • Poisonous reptiles like some snakes are considered a Class I animal or dangerous, while most snakes with or without teeth are Class III, also known as mostly harmless.

Final Thoughts

Most species of snakes have teeth, including all the black snakes in the US. Luckily, many black snakes are nonvenomous, and they tend to shy away from people.

Even aggressive self-defenders like the black racer will try and escape at high speed rather than strike first. If you encounter a wild snake, don’t go near it or pick it up, and if you can’t tell what kind it is, then back away slowly.

Ted Smith

My name is Ted Smith and I’m the creator of I have a passion for educating people about animals and wildlife. I have been working with the National Wildlife Federation for the past 10 years and I became a wildlife blogger to help people become excited about animals and encouraged to care for these wonderful creatures.

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