Do Black Snakes Keep Copperheads Away? Do they Eat & Kill?

Do Black Snakes Keep Copperheads AwayBlack snakes are particularly important to the control of pests within our own environments, keeping the populations of insects, amphibians & rodents from overpopulating and becoming more of a problem than they would typically be.

However, can the common black Rat snake or Black Racer Snake keep away deadly snakes such as copperheads?

Or it’s just a myth? In this article, we will see if a black snake can actually be helpful in your garden and keep other deadly snakes such as copperheads away.

Do Black Snakes Keep Copperheads Away?

Some black snakes such as Black King snakes  will kill or attack a copperhead, however generally the common Black Rat snakes will not keep copperhead snakes away.  While black snakes at times may be aggressive towards other snakes or even kill them, it is just as common for them to be non-threatening towards them as well.

In general, snakes usually prefer warm-blooded prey for their meal.  Warm-blooded animals supply cold-blooded snakes with an outside source of body heat, a substance filled meal, and continued energy.

Where a cold-blooded meal is less common since it requires the black snake to seek out heat from other sources, hunt and eat more frequently, and generally find other ways to maintain their body heat to sustain their ability to live.

Related: Are Black Snakes Dangerous

Do Black Snakes Kill Copperheads

Some black snakes Such as the Black Kingsnake and even the common Black Racer Snake will kill or attack a copperhead, however, it’s just as likely to find a black snake live among and share a nest with a copperhead.

The Most common Black snakes you might find in your yard, the Black Rat snakes, have easy-going personalities that make it easy for them to congregate with other types of snakes.

They seem nonthreatening to copperheads and they can commonly be found hibernating with copperhead snakes and sharing nests to generate body heat.

Do Black Snakes kill copperheads

How Does A Black Snake Kill Other Snakes?

The typical black snakes you may come across, black racer snakes and the black rat snakes, are constrictor snakes.

This means that they do not use venom to kill their prey.

Instead, black snakes squeeze their prey to death and might even bite them with their fangs to kill them first.

Black Racers have high immunity to other snake bites, if they were to attack a copperhead they would try to overpower it & bite it’s body with its fangs to weaken the copperhead.

Even if the copperhead would try to bite the Black racer and Inject venom in it, it would do very little to the Black Racer snake!

As the copperhead would struggle to keep up and become weaker from the Black Racer’s attack, the Black Racer would use the chance to grab the Copperhead by its head.

After the Black racer would grab the copperhead by its head it would then simply swallow the now very weak or dead copperhead as a whole.

It’s important to remember that this will not always be the case, They most often do not kill other snakes or even eat off of the remains of dead snakes.

Black snakes will commonly meld with other species of snakes for survival.

Do Black Snakes Eat Copperheads?

The typical black rat snake will not eat other snakes. The black Racer Snake, although very rare, might sometimes attack and eat a copperhead.

If you actually want to Get rid of Poisonous snakes from your yard or house, your best bet is to keep your yard clean from clutter and tall grass where Copperhead snakes can hide and hunt for food to eat.

Not only do they generally not eat them as a meal, but they also do not eat them as a means of defending themselves.

A black snake will release strong pheromones to deter animals who might threaten it and they may also strike out and bite another animal.

Biting is usually the most aggressive action a black snake will take along with its natural constricting abilities.

Continue Reading: What do Black Snakes Eat

Do Black King Snakes Eat Copperheads

Black kingsnakes do eat copperhead snakes.  They also eat a variety of other kinds of snakes as well, both nonvenomous and venomous in nature.

The name and coloring of the black snake, black rat snake, and the black king snake is the biggest reason for confusion as to which one of these species will eat other snakes and which won’t.

Black king snakes are often known for attacking other snakes, especially those they consider to be in their personal space or hunting area.

Black king snakes don’t just eat copperheads, they will eat almost any kind of snake that they decide looks like an appetizing meal.

Do Black Racers Eat Copperheads

The commonly found Black Racer snake is known to sometimes attack and eat other poisonous snakes such as Coppearheads and Rattlesnakes, especially if they are very small!

However, you shouldn’t count on even the Black racers to keep Copperheads away as it’s not a very common sight for Black Racers to eat other snakes.

Black racers will rather seek out and eat Lizards, Small Birds, Insects and Frogs instead of other snakes.

Do Black Rat Snakes Eat Copperheads

Black rat snakes don’t make a habit of eating copperhead snakes, unlike Black King Snakes or even the Black racers.

The black rat snake is a nonvenomous snake that generally gets along well with most other types of snakes, even the poisonous ones.

Snakes in general is not really on the menu for black rat snakes.

They prefer to stick to warm blooded animals like rats, mice, moles, and other rodents.  While they have also been known to eat the occasional bird, insect, or reptile as well.

Do Black Snakes Kill Other Poisonous Snacks

Yes, on occasion, a black snake such as the Black King Snake or Black Racer Snake may kill and eat other poisonous snakes such as Rattlesnakes or Cottonmouth snakes as well.  This is an incredibly uncommon habit though.

The most aggressive that a black snake will usually become with a poisonous snake is to squeeze it or lash out and bite at it.  Black snakes are not generally aggressive, even towards poisonous snakes.

As a species, the black snake is simply more likely to try and find ways to avoid, evade, or flee from a poisonous snake.  Fleeing through their surroundings is the preferred choice for both the typical black snake and the black rat snake.

Because of the black rat snakes’ keen water speed, it will almost always choose to run away quickly through the water than be forced to defend itself from a poisonous snake.

Also read: Why Do Snakes Kill Themselves

Why Do Black Snakes Eat Poisonous Snakes?

The black Kingsnake will eat other deadly snakes simply as they see them just as another source of food.

The Black Racer Snake might eat other Poisonous snakes for the very same reason but to much less extent!

The Regular black rat snake’s mild behavior and nonaggressive temperament allow them to easily blend with and live among other types of snakes.

This is an especially common habit when they are looking to keep warm or to hibernate.

Black snakes will on occasion eat a poisonous snake, but this does not happen often.

Also read: What do Snake Eggs look like

Are Black Snakes Aggressive

Black Snakes are not typically an aggressive snakes, though they will defend themselves when attacked, and they will obviously kill in order to find their next meal.  Unlike some snakes that become aggressive or strike when they are threatened, the Black Snake will give off a strong and pungent smell to repel its adversaries.

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Are Black Snakes Good to Have Around

Black Snakes can be great to have around.  This is especially true if you live in a more rural area with tall grass, fields, livestock, or any other place that causes rodents to be drawn or to make their homes.

Black Snakes are great for eating rodents, as well as other small prey like birds and reptiles.

They are great for keeping rodent populations down.  They are also well known for being able to clear out moles from a yard or field as well.

Are Black Snakes Dangerous to Humans

Any Bite from a snake, even if it’s from a non-poisonous one will be still extremely painful and may lead to an infection.

Black snakes are not typically known for their aggression towards humans.  The Black Rat Snake will sooner flee than strike if given the option.  This is especially true in cases where the Black Rat Snake is near water since they can swim fast.

Continue Reading: Do Black Snakes bite

Can A Black Snake Breed with A Copperhead

No, Black Snakes do not breed with Copperheads.  This is entirely untrue, but it is likely that the rumor came about because Black Snake babies have markings similar to those of a Copperhead.

As the baby gets older though those Copperhead-like markings fade into the solid black coloring they will maintain throughout their adulthood.

So speculation is made that the markings that baby Black Snakes possess is a natural security system given to the snakes by mother nature to deter other snakes and animals from eating them while they are little and have less of an ability to defend themselves.