BLACK RAT SNAKE

Elaphe obsoleta

 (Colubridae)


Description
Mature Black Rat Snakes are black with a white chin (A). Young snakes are gray with black blotches (F,G). Adults are up to 6 feet long and average about 1 1/2 inches in diameter (C). They are shy and usually freeze when confronted.

Occurrence
Considered uncommon in Fontenelle Forest and Neale Woods. The best chance to see these and other local snakes is in April and May, when they come out of hibernation, sun themselves and are looking to mate, and in the later fall when they look for a place to hibernate. Black Rat Snakes inhabit all kinds of habitat, from wooded uplands to flood plains.

Comments
Black Rat Snakes are excellent climbers and spend a lot of time high up in the trees, where they will rob nests of eggs and young birds. But their main diet consist of mice, rats and other small rodents. They are considered useful for rodent control. When picked up by man or predator, Black Rat Snakes release a foul smelling musk as a deterrent.



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