Snakes of NC
Garter Snakes can vary from black with yellow stripes, checkered with stripes, checkered with no stripes, to gray with cream stripes. They are about the most variable snake in the US.
They are good to have around the garden, as they eat slugs and caterpillars.
Though most will bite if picked up, they have no fangs (just tiny teeth) and no venom, thus they are completely harmless.
Remember that the two dangerous snakes in your area (Rattlesnake and Copperhead) are very distinctive appearing, so if the snake is neither of these it is harmless.
: We live in Md. and have found what looks
: to be a family of black snakes. THe
: largest is about 5 feet long and is
: black with yellow strips going down the
: length of its body. Then there a
: several smaller snakes about 12-18
: inches long that look just like the big
: one. The smallest are more of a
: greenish color with the yellow
: striping? Any ideas what these are and
: are they harmful?
The Appalachian Naturalist