Gray Rat Snake

Gray Rat Snake: (Elaphe obsoleta spiloides)

Gray rat snakes (elaphe obsoleta spiloides), are members of the colubridae family. Gray rat snakes average in size between 36 to 72 inches long, with the record being 84.25 inches long. They are one of North Americans largest snakes, reaching up to 8 feet long.

Gray rat snakes are gray with dark blotches. Their bellies are light gray with dark square like blotches, and the tip of the tail has 2 dark stripes. It has keeled scales and 25 to 27 dorsal scale rows at mid - body,  they also have round pupils.

Gray rat snakes are mainly found throughout the panhandle of Florida, west of the Apalachicola River. They are commonly found in pine - lands, hardwood hammocks, cypress strands, swamps, marshes. prairies, agricultural fields and residential areas.

Gray rat snakes are carnivores, primarily consuming rodents, birds and their eggs, frogs, lizards, rodents and small mammals.

Gray rat snakes are mainly nocturnal. This snake is an excellent climber and terrestrial burrower. They are constrictors and suffocate their prey just like pythons and boas. When the gray rat snake is agitated it will defend itself by raising its head to strike, vibrating their tail against vegetation debris, sounding like a rattlesnake and releasing a foul smelling musk especially when handled by humans. They will bite if necessary, although they are less likely too. If a gray rat snake bites a human, it may require a band - aid and is completely harmless to humans, pets and livestock.

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