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Great Plains Rat Snake

Photo by Suzanne L. Collins

Common Name: Great Plains Rat Snake

Scientific Name: Pantherophis emoryi

Size: Length in Kansas up to 52 3/4 inches


Kansas range map for the Great Plains Rat Snake

Range: Found throughout most of Kansas, but absent from High Plains north of the Arkansas River and northeastern corner of state.

Description: Harmless. Weakly keeled scales; a pattern of 25–45 squarish brown blotches on grayish back; a checkerboard pattern of white and black or dark gray markings on belly. Young resemble adults; almost indistinguishable from young Western Rat Snakes.

Habits: Roams rocky hillsides and canyons and frequently inhabits caves; avoids heavily forested regions. Active from March to September; primarily nocturnal, prowling for food. During day, remains hidden beneath rocks or in caves and crevices. Number of eggs per clutch ranges from 3-30. Constrictor. Feeds primarily on small rodents and birds. In region of caves, eats bats.