Florida's Snakes thumbnail photo of snake identification guide cover

Black Swampsnake
(Seminatrix pygaea)


solid-colored icon

Black Swampsnake

photo of black swampsnake showing black body and red belly

Photo by Dirk Stevenson. This photo may not be used for any purpose without the express written permission of the photographer.


Usually 10–15 in. (max. 18 in.)


Back is shiny black; black bars or triangles usually extend onto the bright red-orange belly. Scales are smooth. This snake gives birth to live young (does not lay eggs).


Found throughout Florida, except the extreme western panhandle, in freshwater and brackish wetlands, including marshes, bayheads, cypress swamps, sloughs, seasonal ponds, and canals. It is occasionally found in saltwater marshes. Temporary wetlands are important nursery areas for juveniles; severe droughts may force these secretive snakes to move overland to permanent bodies of water.


Worms, leeches, fish, tadpoles, frogs, salamanders

map showing black swampsnakes are found throughout Florida with the exception of the extreme western panhandle

Map by Monica E. McGarrity - may be used freely for education.

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