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Eastern Rat Snake Elaphe obsoleta


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Eastern Rat Snake, Yellow subspecies
credit: Patrick Coin

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Alternate name: Black Rat Snake

Family: Colubridae, Colubrid Snakes view all from this family

Description Glossy black above with white lips, chin, and throat. Juveniles strongly patterned with brown blotches on a gray background. Sometimes traces of the "obsolete" juvenile pattern are still discernible in the skin between the scales, especially when stretched after a heavy meal.

Dimensions 106.7-256.5cm. (42-101")

Subspecies No subspecies currently recognised.

Breeding Breed April-June. Oblong eggs, 38-57mm ( 1 1/2-2 1/4"). 5-30 eggs in a clutch laid under vegetation June-August. Hatch in August-October. 28-41cm (11-16") long when born.

Similar Species Baird's Rat Snake - Constrictor, brown-grayish/orange-brown. 4 stripes down back. Texas to Beg Bend into Mexico.

Habitat Arid forests, wooded canyons, swamps, upland, farmland, fields, barnyards.

Range Ontario to Vermont, through to Florida Keys, Texas Minnesota and Michigan.

Discussion Nocturnal in summer when temperatures are hotter. Eats birds, eggs, lizards and mice. Often shares hibernation spots with Timber Rattlesnakes in northern part of range. Longevity in captivity longer than 20 years.