Hard to tell from the image but probably a racer or ratsnake . Both are harmless but may bite if you pick them up and they eat rodents among other things .
I am an arch-enemy of pit vipers. Fortunately, my favorite rock climbs are well up in places like the Tetons, the Winds, the Beartooths, the Big Horns, etc where the miserable %$$#@ don't live. Of course, I occasionally hit the crags, like Sinks Canyon outside Lander, and I've come across a prairie rattlesnake once in a while. Don't think I've ever actually seen WY's other rattler, the midget faded, whose venom is supposed to be very strong. My most bizarre encounter was seeing a rattler on the summit of Devil's Tower after finishing a four-pitch climb. Who needs that?I think what freaked me out about snakes was in Alabama where I grew up we had cottonmouths, timber rattlers, water moccasins, copperheads, pygmy rattlers and coral snakes. Didn't wanna mess with any of em, some of em would chase ya a good ways if ya riled em !
In my back yard I saw a large snake laying near some bushes that was about as thick as your forearm and thought it might be a Timber Rattlesnake because of its pattern. We live near a large forested area with a wetland (aka a "swamp") nearby. I carefully pulled back some branches with a hockey stick and saw no rattles on the tail but it was out of there before I could see the head. Checking the web for indigenous snakes of New York I learned that it was a Northern Water Snake. As you know they are not venomous but they are known to be aggressive. A really impressive reptile for sure.I don't think I've ever picked up a northern watersnake that didn't try to bite me . Several succeeded .
There actually is a subspecies insularium called the Lake Erie watersnake . It used to be threatened but the invasive gobies provided a great food source . The subspecies primarily lives on islands in the western basin . It gets confusing because the regular Lake Erie watersnake is sipedon , the northern banded watersnake . I actually think getting foul smelling musk from them smeared on you is worse than getting bit .When I was in field school, we would often just swim off the boat to the site..
I do remember swimming in and being about a foot away from a Nerodius sippidon. water snek..they are cranky! And here in Erie they are black..but not a different species. It was really kinda cool..
Unionblue,We've got a rather long black snake that likes to come around to our yard and hedges. We named him 'Jerry,' so he doesn't come across as too scary. He's been here for around four years at our home in Ocala, FL. Every time we see him or come across him in the hedges, we say, "Hello Jerry!" and keep on trucking on.