Black Rat Snake
Elaphe o. obsoleta

CLASS: Reptilia
ORDER: Squamata
SUBORDER: Serpentes
FAMILY: Colubridae

SIZE:
Up to 101 inches in length

RANGE:
North America; Statewide in Louisiana

HABITAT:
Found on roads, in swamps, wooded areas, pastures, briar patches, cultivated fields, open sandy places, houses and barns.

DIET:
Wild - Mostly rats and mice; rabbits, birds, squirrels, lizards
Zoo - Mice, rats

DESCRIPTION:

  • Very long snake with a uniformly black dorsum or a pattern of large dark blotches on a gray-brown or yellow brown background (all juveniles blotched)
  • Belly mottled or checkered; anal plate undivided. Often referred to as "chicken snake."

ADAPTATIONS:

  • Can climb trees
  • Swims
  • When cornered pulls body into a tight coil and rapidly vibrates tail making a "buzz", resembling the sound made by a rattlesnake.

YOUNG:
Clutch size may range from 6 to 44 eggs.

STATUS:
Not threatened

REFERENCE:
"The Amphibians and reptiles of Louisiana," Harold A. Dundee and Douglas A. Rossman