Periodically, I will be sharing  information on pets, wildlife and other relevant topics on this page. The intention is to keep you, our residences, informed with information that will help you and your pets be a happy and healthy.

Feel free to contact me with questions or concerns regarding animal control issues at (973) 500-8319. There are additional contacts listed on adjoining pages.

Scott Hendricks


About Black Rat Snakes and Black Racers

If you’ve got black snakes around your house, chances are they’re either black rat snakes or black racers. Both are nonvenomous black colored snakes with white or grayish bellies that eat mostly rodents and other small animals, and neither are out to hurt you. They’re only around because there’s food nearby, and that food isn’t you.

  • Black Rat Snakes: These snakes are fairly slow moving, and often freeze when confronted. If they get really upset, they might rattle their tail in the leaves as a warning. Some rat snakes are laid back, but others will strike if handled, so it’s best not to mess with them.
  • Black Racers: Black racers, on the other hand, are much faster-moving and prefer escape over conversation. They’re more likely to panic, flail around, and bite if disturbed.

Facts About Black Snakes

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  • Diet: Black snakes mostly eat rodents, lizards, birds, and bird eggs. Rat snakes are constrictors while black racers generally aren’t. They can climb trees; and, if you don’t protect your bird houses with baffles, will break your heart by invading the nests.
  • Smell: Rat snakes emit a musky smell when threatened.
  • Habitat: Black snakes live in grasses, forests, marshes, and buildings. Wherever there’s food and dark shelter, there might be black snakes.
  • Benefits: Black snakes eat large quantities of rodents. If you can get over your fears, they’re good to have around your garage or barn to keep the mice at bay.