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Western Rat Snake

Photo by Bob Gress

Common Name: Western Rat Snake

Scientific Name: 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.