A medium to large serpent, gray rat snakes typically reach an adult size of 39" to 72" (3.25–6 feet/99 cm-183 cm), however, the record is 84.5"(7.041 ft/2.15m). The venter is usually off-white or pale gray with darker irregular blotches, and a double row of black spots behind the divided anal plate of the vent. The dorsal scale rows around midbody are usually weakly keeled. Because the gray rat snake shares its range with other members of its species, intergrades of black/gray and yellow/gray rat snakes are not uncommon.
Native to North America, the Gray Ratsnake is commonly found in the forests of eastern and central United States. It occurs relatively continuously throughout the major part of the eastern half of the United States, along the western edge of the Appalachian Mountains, from southwestern New England to the Gulf of Mexico, westward to the Mississippi River, and northward from northern Louisiana to southwestern Wisconsin.
An agile climber, gray rat snakes are at home from the ground to the tree tops in many types of hardwood forest and cypress stands, along tree-lined streams and fields, and even barns and sheds in close proximity to people. Within its range, almost any environment rich in rodents, and vertical escape options, proves a suitable habitat for the gray rat snake. As scent-hunters these powerful constrictors feed primarily on rodents, birds, and their eggs as adults, while neonates and juveniles prefer a diet of frogs and lizards. When startled, this species, like other rat snakes, stops and remains motionless with its body held in a series of wave-like kinks. The gray rat snake will defend itself by raising its head and bluffing a strike. If handled, these snakes will musk a victim by releasing the foul-smelling contents of their cloaca, and will bite if necessary. However, the gray rat snake is less likely to bite than other members of its species, and wounds from a bite rarely require more than a bandage.
Lat: 34.81, Long: -86.98
Spotted on May 1, 2012
Submitted on May 5, 2012