Black Rat Snake

Black rat snake

Genus: Elaphe
Species: obsoleta obsoleta

Description:  Black rat snakes are frequent visitors to suburban backyards, farms and fields. They are the snake mostly likely to be seen around buildings hunting for rodents, amphibians and young birds. Despite making occasional appearances throughout the summer, black rat snakes are actually very shy and at the sight of danger, will either freeze or run away. 

Black rat snakes are between 3 ½ to 7 feet long. They have shiny black scales on the back and a light colored belly; their throat and chin are a white color.  

The head of a black rat snake is wider than the neck and the rest of the body.

Black rat snakes are excellent swimmers and climbers. They will use these skills to catch a variety of food from bird eggs to frogs.   

Remember to give all snakes the respect they are due and keep a safe distance. Although black rat snakes do not usually attack when threatened, there have been extreme cases of black rat snakes charging at predators.  Black rat snakes also produce a strong foul odor when scared to deter predators and people.

Range:  Look for black rat snakes in fields, woodlands, farmlands and around suburban communities from Connecticut to South Carolina and west to middle of Kansas and Oklahoma.

  • Fun Fact
    Black rat snakes are constrictor snakes and will use their body to suffocate their prey.

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