Great Plains Ratsnake

Great Plains Ratsnake


Great plains states from Texas to southcentral Mexico.


Meadows, rocky hillsides, barnyards, near wetlands and other permanent water sources.


This snake is pale tan or yellowish brown with four dark stripes running the length of the body. However, there are many very colorful varieties.


The rat snake is a secretive constrictor. It can ascend trees, may be found on rafters of barns and chicken houses, but is usually found on the ground. When disturbed it may discharge feces and an offensive odor from the anal gland. It is primarily nocturnal.


Oviparous. In June or July the female lays one to two dozen eggs which incubate for varying lengths of time depending on the size and general condition of the parents and on the habitat. The hatchlings range from 10 – 12 inches in length.

Interesting Facts:

It is of economic value as a predator of rats and other rodents in grain fields and storage bins. The Great Plains ratsnake, also known as the yellow ratsnake, derives its title ‘chicken snake’ from its habit of frequently visiting poultry houses where it catches rodents, but often feasts on hens\\\' eggs as well. Another name for it is prairie ratsnake.

About Our Animals:

This animal is not currently in the Zoo\\\'s inventory.

Great Plains Ratsnake
Class: reptiles
Genus: Elaphe
Species: guttata emoryi
Length: May attain a length of 6 or 7 ft. The average is about 3 ft.
Height: N/A
Weight: N/A
Wild Diet: Frogs, rats, mice, bats, birds, chickens and their eggs.
Zoo Diet: N/A
Predators: Humans, birds of prey, and the indigo snake in the south.
USFWS Status: Not Listed
CITES Status: Not Listed

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