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Native Non-Venomous Snakes of Texas

Grace Heritage RanchIn our last article we talked about native venomous snakes of Texas. In this article we’ll talk about some of our native non-venomous snakes.

The state of Texas is home to 113 species and subspecies of snakes. Surprisingly to most people, less than 15% are venomous; the rest are completely harmless. Obviously we can’t talk about each of the non-venomous snakes individually in this article, so I’ll just go over three fairly common ones.

The indigo is one of the largest snakes in Texas and can reach an adult size of 6-8 feet long! They are easily identified by their thick, shiny, black or blue-black bodies. This is where their name “indigo” comes from. They also have a reddish-orange hue to the scoots on their neck and chin area. Though to some people this snake might look pretty scary, they are actually very docile and a good snake to have around not only to control rodent populations but also to keep other snakes away. Venomous snakes know that if they get too close to an indigo they might get eaten! The indigos are a protected species here in Texas, so it’s best for humans to give them a wide berth too.

The Texas rat snake is another common snake. They have a very diverse diet eating things like birds, lizards, frogs, and of course rodents, all of which they kill by constriction. This means they use their bodies to wrap around their prey and kill it by suffocation before eating. Their coloration is a light tan background with darker brown blotches in a row along their sides and back. Their average size is about 3-5 feet.

The milk snake is commonly mistaken for the venomous coral snake though they are totally non-venomous. Both these snakes are about the same size, 20-30 inches, and they share the same the same colors. However, the order of the red, black and yellow bands going down their bodies is the way you can distinguish these two snakes. Simply remember the rhyme “red touches yellow- kill a fellow, red touches black- friend of jack”.

To learn even more about homesteading, join us at Grace Heritage Ranch for our Saturday morning tours. We are located just 30 minutes northeast of Harlingen, TX near Santa Monica. Please visit us at or For a recorded message, please call 1-855-447-8687. We offer both public and private tours.

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