WESTERN RAT SNAKE
Photo © by Bob Gress
Used by permission
Length in Kansas up to 75 1/8 inches.
Restricted to eastern half of Kansas; in the south ranges as far west as Barber
Harmless. Keeled scales; generally uniform dark brown or black color on the head,
body and tail. Some adults have an indistinct pattern of dark blotches; those from
south-central Kansas may be distinctly blotched. Belly cream or yellow-white, with large
indistinct darker areas. Young are patterned and colored like Great Plains Rat Snakes, but
lose this pattern as they grow older.
Inhabits forested areas, particularly the rocky hillsides of open woodlands and
wooded areas along streams and rivers. Active from late March to November; becomes more
nocturnal during summer. Home ranges of 2530 acres; frequently seen climbing trees
in search of food. Population density about one snake per three acres. Six to 44 eggs per
clutch laid in June or July; hatch in 1-2 months. Constrictor. Feeds on frogs, lizards,
snakes, bird eggs, birds, rodents and rabbits. Hawks are main predator.
Click here for
information on precautions against being bitten by snakes
and what to do if you have been bitten by one.
Text: Joseph T. Collins & Suzanne L. Collins
Photos: Suzanne L. Collins & Bob Gress
Range Maps & Web Design: Jim Mason