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Black Rat Snake

Pantherophis obseletus

Description:

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.

Habitat:

Mixed field, farm, woodlands, suburbs.

Notes:

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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JackieHolmesBurns
Spotted by
JackieHolmesBurns

South Carolina, USA

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

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