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Black Rat Snake

Pantherophis obseletus


Adults are a large black snake of medium build. Adults usually 5 to 6 feet in length. They sometimes have very faint white markings visible in a not-quite discernible pattern. Non-venomous and quite common. Feed on mammals such as mice, rats, squirrels and even rabbits; birds, eggs.


Mixed field, farm, woodlands, suburbs.


Rat snakes are excellent climbers and often feed on bird eggs or nestlings. However, this individual was encountered eating the eggs from the nest of our free-range chickens. It had an egg in its mouth--halfway swallowed-as I approached it. The snake dropped the egg but never musked or attempted to bite me when I picked it up. It was recently shed, robust and healthy. They do make it challenging to produce eggs or raise chicks to adulthood in a small farm-free range setting. I relocated this snake from our home to an abandoned farmhouse a couple of miles away. The old farmhouse had three outbuildings--rat snakes often find very good hunting for birds, eggs and rodents where there are old buildings. I often spot them on rafters and under the eaves of these structures.

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Spotted by

South Carolina, USA

Spotted on Jun 29, 2011
Submitted on Jun 11, 2012

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