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North American Animals - mamals, birds, reptiles, insects

 Common Rat Snake (Elaphe obsoleta)




Common Rat Snake | Elaphe obsoleta photo
Yellow Rat Snake

Photograph by Ltshears. License: Public Domain.  (view image details)

Common Rat Snake | Elaphe obsoleta photo
Black Rat Snake

Photograph by Fritz Geller-Grimm. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

COMMON RAT SNAKE FACTS

Description
The Common Rat Snake is one of the largest snakes in North America. It has a slender body and a wedge-shaped head. There are a number of color variations: The Black Rat Snake is all black except for a white chin and throat; hatchlings are pale grey with black blotches along its back. The Yellow Rat Snake is yellow with four brown stripes along the back, and has a black tongue; hatchlings are similar to those of the black rat snake. The Everglades Rat Snake is orange or orange-yellow with indistinct gray stripes along the body, and has a red tongue; young snakes are pink. The Gray Rat Snake is pale gray with dark gray or brown blotches.

Other Names
Black Rat Snake, Yellow Rat Snake, Gray Rat Snake, Everglades Rat Snake, Pantherophis obsoletus

Size
average 105cm - 180cm. Can grow to about 240cm.

Environment
heavily wooded areas, rocky hillsides, farmland. It is a good climber and can climb the trunk of large trees without assistance of branches.

Food
The Common Rat Snake is a constrictor. It feeds on mice, rats, Also eats other snakes, chipmunks, squirrels, birds and bird eggs.

Breeding
The female lays about 12 to 20 eggs which hatch about 65 to 70 days.

Range
The Common Rat Snake is found in the eastern half of the United States. It ranges from Maine to Florida in the east across to Wisconsin and down through Nebraska to Texas in the west. It is also found in southern Canada.

Notes
The Common Rat Snake is non-venomous and usually non-aggressive. If cornered they will shake their tails and strike. Rat snakes are popular in the pet trade. They are fairly docile in captivity and popular with novices and reptile collectors.

Classification
Class:Reptilia
Order:Squamata (Serpentes)
Family:Colubridae
Genus:Elaphe
Species:obsoleta
Common Name:Common Rat Snake


Relatives in same Genus
  Baird's Rat Snake (E. bairdi)
  Emory's Rat Snake (E. emoryi)
  Corn Snake (E. guttata)
  Texas Rat Snake (E. obsoleta lindheimeri)
  Western Fox Snake (E. vulpina)