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This is a juvenile, the pattern will fade over time into very dark glossy black. Juvenile rat snakes are easy to ID by the dark stripe going through their eyes and across the nose. Adults can be pretty large, and also bitey so handle calmly and slowly. This one was caught when I worked on the Mofep Project.
Missouri Ozarks, forest.
The old genus was Elaphe, and there are several sub species of obsoletus (obsoleta). In MO the "black rat snake" is what people in TX call the "Texas rat snake." However, in MO the color phase is much darker than the phase I see in Texas. Snakes are cool that way, adaptable.
Spotted on Sep 18, 2009
Submitted on Sep 21, 2012