Western Rat Snake

Western rat snakes have special scales on their belly that help them climb up trees.
Western Rat Snake Scientific Classification
Scientific name
P. obsoletus
Western Rat Snake Physical Characteristics
Brown, Grey, Black
20 years
Western Rat Snake Distribition

Western rat snakes are just one of the lengthiest snakes in The United States and Canada; the lengthiest one on document gauged 111 inches. They are long, slim, non- poisonous constrictors that are fantastic mountain climbers. These snakes are participants of the Colubridae family and are carefully pertaining to king snakes.

They’re a terrific all-natural bug control that will certainly look for mice, rats, squirrels, birds, and also bats to eat. Juveniles commonly feed upon lizards and frogs however as they grow establish a preference for rodents.

Remarkable Truths Regarding Western Rat Snakes

  • The ranges on their stomaches turn up and get hold of onto surface areas which assists them reach astonishing elevations.
  • For such a huge snake, they’re rather smooth. When you’re holding one it cools down rather swiftly.
  • Some individuals call them chicken snakes due to the fact that they will certainly get involved in a chicken cage and eat both eggs and chicks.
  • They’re carefully pertaining to king snakes, and some pet dog breeders have actually reproduced crossbreeds of both species.

Where to Locate Western Rat Snakes

Western rat snakes are versatile animals that will certainly make a residence anywhere they discover food. They favor forested locations with a water, however gladly settle in old barns, deserted structures, and under residences. These snakes are partially arboreal, and will certainly occasionally lay their eggs high up in the hollow of a tree. They’re superb mountain climbers that you might discover 20 feet up a tree that has no reduced branches.

Their array prolongs west from the Mississippi River to main and north Texas, and north to Iowa and Nebraska. Western rat snakes are lengthy and slim, however effective constrictors that asphyxiate their target prior to ingesting it entire. These snakes occasionally get to 6 feet in size and dim as they develop; nonetheless, regardless of their dimension, they’re not hostile in all.

They brumate starting in October or November, discovering a refuge to pass the cooler months. as quickly as the climate warms, western rat snakes end up being energetic once more. Reproducing happens in between April and June, the female lays her eggs in a remote room concerning 4- 6 weeks later on. After 60- 75 days the hatchlings arise; these are superb dog breeders, and females can injure to 20 eggs each time.

Western Rat Snake’s Scientific Name

This snake’s genus name, Pantherophis, suggests “Panther snake,” and it makes good sense; the juveniles’ seen pattern is similar to panther, and as they establish their grown-up pigmentation the pattern is still rather noticeable on some people.

Sorts Of Rat Snakes

With over 50 rat snake species taking place throughout the globe, it’s commonly tough to keep an eye on them. Right here are the species herpetologists understand populate locations of the USA.


Desert rat snakes take place in the Southwest USA right into north Mexico. There is a wide array of environments that Baja The golden state rat snakes ( B rosaliae) and Trans- Pecos rat snakes ( B. subocularis) populate.


This genus holds a lot of the rat snake species in the USA. This consists of the grey rat snake (P. spiloides), Eastern rat snake ( P. alleghaniensis), Baird’s rat snake ( P. bairdi), Great plains rat snake (P. emoryi), Eastern fox snake ( P. gloydi), Western fox snake ( P. ramspotti), Corn snake ( P. guttatus), western (or black) rat snake ( P. obsoletus), and Slowinski’s corn snake ( P. slowinskii)

A couple of species in Pantherophis have subspecies; while others, such as the grey rat snake and western rat snake perhaps intermix near the Mississippi River. Genetically, numerous rat snakes are similar adequate to additionally mate with king snakes, and a couple of pet dog breeders have actually done this to develop brand-new morphs.

Western Rat Snakes: Populace and Preservation

There aren’t any type of price quotes of populace, nonetheless, biologists think they have a steady populace in the majority of locations. The IUCN Redlist considers them “Least Concern” Their major risks, after the incorrect identification problems and collection for the pet profession, are predation from various other animals. Birds of target (red- trailed hawks also quest the bigger snakes), coyotes, foxes, minks, and snakes all make being a western rat snake an unsafe profession.

That stated, in some states where they are much less usual, such as Minnesota, they’re provided as a species of unique issue. They have actually just been recorded in a number of southeastern areas in the state; so in 2013, after numerous researches, the state of Minnesota identified it as an endangered species.

Recognizing Western Rat Snakes: Appearance & Summary

This is a relatively big snake, although it’s not extremely thick. Western rat snakes can get to 6 feet long, and the document was established by a wild- captured snake that gauged over 8 feet (101 inches). A lot of snakes balance from 4- 6 feet. Youthful snakes have a brilliant, high- comparison pattern with a grey history and dark brownish spots on the back and sides. The spots on their backs have mild factors at the edges, and those on the sides are a lot more uneven fit. They dim swiftly as they develop, and a number of these snakes end up being nearly strong black on their backs however maintain lighter shades with black areas on their stomaches. The majority of them have a white chin, however not all.

Western Rat Snakes Photos and Video Clips

Western rat snake
Western rat snakes dim as they develop shed a lot of the pattern on their heads and bodies.iStock.com/ Naja Picture

adult western rat snake in defensive posture
Western rat snake revealing’S’ form in a protective pose.Rusty Dodson/Shutterstock. com

Young Western Rat snake
Western rat snakes been available in numerous shades however dim with age and shed a few of the patterns.Joe Farah/Shutterstock. com

closeup of western rat snake
Several western rat snakes have a white chin.Rusty Dodson/Shutterstock. com

Just How Harmful are Western Rat Snakes

These snakes aren’t hazardous; nonetheless, if you catch one it might ice up and wish you do not see it, attack, launch a horrible scenting musk, rattle its tail, or coil up and strike. Western rat snakes have numerous defenses versus risks and will certainly utilize any type of device at their disposal to leave injury.

  • At the initial indicator of a hazard, a western rat snake might tense and kink up, providing its body a zig- zag form; it might additionally ice up in position, wishing you will not see it.
  • If that stops working, after that it may coil up, create its neck right into an’S’ form, and rattle its tail. Some think the tail rattle is resembling rattlesnakes, however various other differ due to the fact that the exact same actions takes place in numerous snakes around the globe where there are no rattlesnakes.
  • At this moment, if you are still pestering this snake, it will certainly attack. Thankfully it will not be regrettable; keep in mind, it does not have any type of poison.
  • Its last resource (not that attacking isn’t poor sufficient), is to launch musk from its air vent, or cloaca. This things has an odor. It does not clean off well, and kind of adhere to you up until you scrub a whole lot.

All that stated, it’s not an unsafe snake, and is extremely valuable to individuals. They maintain rodents (and various other animals) from taking control of the globe.

Western Rat Snake Habits and Humans

Western rat snakes aren’t hostile, and they will not follow you. Frequently, these snakes attempt to leave. Also as they’re being pestered by a person they’re trying to find a retreat path. While human infringement can be a trouble for them, typically, they have actually adjusted to life in the suburban areas.

Nonetheless, a number of these snakes are eliminated as a result of their pattern; individuals error them for rattlesnakes or copperheads and panic. Along with puzzling their pattern with poisonous snakes, western rat snakes, like numerous various other non- poisonous snakes, can spread their go out to look even more ruby- formed like a pit viper; nonetheless, from over the snake’s head, its eyes are very easy to see. A pit viper’s eyes are extremely challenging to see from over its head.

These constrictors do an essential solution, and while they are commonly located in some unanticipated locations, they’re safe.


  1. Reptile Database, Available here: https://reptile-database.reptarium.cz/
  2. IUCN Redlist, Available here: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/90069553/90069569
  3. Western Rat Snake | Seneca Park Zoo, Available here: https://senecaparkzoo.org/animal-pages/western-rat-snake/
  4. Western Ratsnake | Missouri Department of Conservation, Available here: https://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/western-ratsnake

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