Eastern Ratsnake 

Pantherophis alleghaniensis 
 

IDENTIFICATION

 

Size:                  A large sized snake measuring 45 to 67.5 inches in

                           length.

 

Color:                Black dorsum sometimes with a trace white pattern.

                           Venter is patterned with black and white checkers.

                           Eastern rat snakes can be distinguished from black

                           racers by their square cross-section, checkered venter

                           and large head width compared to the thin neck.  Weakly

                           keeled dorsal scales.  Juveniles are patterned.               

 

Behavior:         Will vibrate tail rapidly in leaves to mimic the sound of a

                           rattlesnakes rattle, a behavior seen in many CT snakes.

                           When handled they emit an unpleasant smelling musk

                           and are often quick to bite.  Non-venomous, bite is

                           harmless.

 

Habitat:             Forests with associated rocky out-crops  Sometimes

                           found in barns and often observed basking in trees,

                           especially when close to denning areas.         

 

Commonly Confused Native Species:

 

Created and Maintained by Dennis P. Quinn

© 2020 Connecticut Herpetology