Western Rat Snake
Photo by Bob Gress
Used by permission

Western Rat Snake
Scotophis obsoletus
  • Size:   Length in Kansas up to 75 1/8 inches.

Kansas range map for the Western Rat Snake

Range:   Restricted to eastern half of Kansas; in the south ranges as far west as Barber County.
  • Description:   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.
  • Habits:   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 25–30 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.

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Snake's Burrow
Text: Joseph T. Collins & Suzanne L. Collins
Photos: Suzanne L. Collins & Bob Gress
Range Maps & Web Design: Jim Mason