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Gray Rat Snake

Elaphe obsoleta spiloides


This snake is also commonly known as the central rat snake. This is also one of several subsecies of rat snake that are locally (Southern U.S. referred to as the "Chicken Snake" because they are often found in chicken coops, sometimes preying on young chicks. A lighter local color phase of the black rat snake, there are 4 other color phases of these snakes, depending on the region in which the individual snake is found. This is a non-venomous snake that can grow over 6 feet in length. They are constrictors and take down their prey by squeezing, creating coils with their muscular bodies. With the exception of coral snakes, one easy way to identify venomous snakes in North America is by looking at their pupils. Round pupils will let you know the snake is non venomous. Pit vipers (who make up almost all of the venomous snake species in the Americas) have vertical slits or "cat eyes" as pupils.


Densly wooded and rocky habitat.


Found at my brothers house, captured and taken to my house (nearby) to photograph, then released back at my brothers place in the wooded area where he was found.

No species ID suggestions

1 Comment

KarenL 5 years ago

We see these guys from time to time in our yard. They do grow to quite impressive lengths (we have a 6 footer here) but are remarkable docile.

Tennessee, USA

Lat: 35.61, Long: -86.92

Spotted on Jul 3, 2012
Submitted on Jul 4, 2012

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