Snakes are sometimes reviled for being creepy, slithering weirdos whose bodies are little more than poop tubes. But they can also be beautiful sirens of death, moving with rare grace before striking their killing blow. Often, the more beautiful the snake, the deadlier it is.
Everyone knows snakes can be deadly, but how can a person tell which snakes are poisonous? It turns out many snake colors have evolved over time as a warning sign to potential predators. These bright displays are often the first sign that a snake is not one to mess around with. Dangerous snake colors range all over the color wheel, from white to black and everything in between. If a snake's color pops, it’s best to stay away. Wondering what a snake’s color means? This guide is here to (colorfully) illuminate you.
Blue: The Blue Racer
Blue isn't the most common color in the animal kingdom, but these snakes rock their unique colors as well as anyone. Surprisingly, the blue racer is a nonvenomous species. They can be found in the United States and occupy a number of different habitats. Unfortunately, these beautiful snakes are threatened by human activity. They are often killed as many people mistake their bright colors as a sign that they are venomous. They are wary of strangers and can become extremely agitated if handled.
White: The Rat Snake
Rat snakes are not normally white but, like any kind of animal, they can have a genetic disorder causing a lack of pigment. In this case it's not that the snake is albino. This animal is actually leucistic, meaning they lack some pigment. Albinism is the total lack of pigment and can be identified by the organism's pink eyes.
Rate snakes are nonvenomous constrictors who feed on rats (obviously) as well as other small rodents. Corn snakes are actually a species of rat snake and they can come in a variety of different colors. A few species of rat snake can grow as long as ten feet, although that size is rare. When frightened, they tend to freeze most of their body while expelling a pungent musk from their tails.
Black mambas are actually named more for the color of their mouth than their scales. Their pure black mouth is used in aggression displays where they open up wide to intimidate potential threats. These snakes are ridiculously venomous and are dubbed the most dangerous snake in the world. Before an anti-venom was synthesized, mamba bites were always fatal and could kill an adult human in about 20 minutes.
It is easy to startle a mamba and they often respond with deadly force. There are many African myths that describe these describe mambas as legendary killers. In addition to their venom, they are also one of the fastest snakes on earth and the longest venomous snake, reaching lengths of up to 14 feet. They also have neck flaps similar to cobras that they extend when they feel vulnerable.