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Great Plains Rat Snake Elaphe guttata emoryi


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Great Plains Rat Snake
credit: LA Dawson/CCSA

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Family: Colubridae, Colubrid Snakes view all from this family

Description 24-60 1/4" (61-91 cm). Long and slender; brown to light gray with olive, brown, or dark gray blotches down middle of back. Two alternating rows of smaller blotches on each side, extending onto edges of belly scales. Large squarish black marks on belly, becoming stripes under tail. Dark spear-point mark on top of head, and dark stripe extending from eye onto neck. Belly scales flat in middle, with ends angled up sharply. Scales smooth or weakly keeled, in 27-29 rows. Anal plate divided.

Warning When cornered, may vibrate its tail like a rattlesnake and strike with impressive speed. Its bite is not venomous.

Habitat Rocky hillsides, canyons, caves; along watercourses and near springs.

Range Sw. Illinois to s. Nebraska and se. Colorado, south to Arkansas and w. Louisiana, throughout Texas and w. New Mexico, and into Mexico. Separate population in e. Utah and w. Colorado.

Discussion This is the western subspecies of the Corn Snake. It often hides in rocky crevices or caves during the day. The two subspecies overlap in the northwestern quadrant of Louisiana and eastern Texas. The eastern subspecies is a brighter, coppery-red snake.