BLACK RAT SNAKE

Scientific Name: Pantherophis obsoletus
Order
Squamata (amphisbaenians, lizards and snakes)

Family
Colubridae (colubrids)

Habitat & Range
Black rat snakes are one of the most successful and widely distributed snakes in North America. They can be found throughout New England, down to Florida and all the way to the western fringes of the Great Plains. They inhabit rocky fields, farmlands and woodlands.

Identification
As their name implies, black rat snakes are completely black with the exception of a small white chin. They generally grow to lengths of 3 to 6 feet.

Diet
Black rat snakes are constrictors meaning they suffocate their prey by wrapping their coils around their victims preventing the animal from expanding its lungs. They hunt on land for lizards, frogs, birds, eggs, rats and other small mammals.

Reproduction & Lifespan
Mating occurs in late May and early June. Five weeks after mating, females lay between 12 and 20 eggs that hatch in late August to early October.

In captivity, a black rat snake lives between 10 and 30 years.

Fantastic Fact
Mistaken Identity
When a black rat snake feels threatened, it will sometimes rustle their tail in dead leaves to mimic the sound of a rattlesnake.

 
 
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