ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Rat Snakes

Updated on July 28, 2009
Yellow Rat Snake
Yellow Rat Snake

Rat Snake

What is a Rat Snake

A rat snake is a large, polyphyletic, group of snakes from the colubrid subfamily colubrinae. Many species of these snakes sometimes tend to be very skittish and sometimes aggressive but bites are usually superficial. Colubridae is a broad classification of snakes that includes about two third of all the species of snakes on earth. These species are found on every continent, except from Antarctica.


Rat snakes were long thought to be venomous, but recent studies have shown that not all but some species of these snakes possess venom.


Adult rat snakes typically reach a size of 3 to 5 feet but some large individuals can reach upto more than 6 feet long.

Diet of Rat Snakes

Adult rat snakes primarily eat birds, mice, rats and squirrels and bird eggs. Their young normally feed on lizards, frogs and small rodents.

Hunting Skills

Rat snakes are constrictors. Constrictors are the snakes which kill their prey by method of constriction. Constriction is a way in which a snake coils itself around its prey and exerts extreme amount of force, thus keeping it from breathing, the lungs of the prey can't breathe and the prey dies gasping for air. They are adept climbers and can climb tree trunks and brick walls quite easily. There have been verified reports of rat snakes climbing as high as 30 feet to reach a bird's nest on a tree.


When frightened they often assume a “kinked” posture and remain motionless. They will also vibrate their tail and expel malodorous musk.

Distribution of Rat Snakes

They are present from southern Canada southward through much of the United States, Mexico, and Central America to Costa Rica. The rat snakes are also widely distributed in Eurasia.


A well fed rat snake will reach sexual maturity at 18 to 24 months of age. Mating season normally begin in winter but can last through spring if the temperature is feasable. They can lay upto 30 eggs in a clutch. Their young hatch after two months of incubation.

Life Span of Rat Snakes

Their life span exceeds 20 years in captivity. There have been reports for rat snakes living upto 23 and 25 years. In the wild their life span is normally 15 years.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I found a black rat\blue racer hybrid today! Without question! This gots to be the coolest snake Ive ever seen!

    • Ultimate Hubber profile imageAUTHOR

      Ultimate Hubber 

      9 years ago

      Thanx Sidney... Its good to hear that a fellow hubber actually possess a black rat snake which is cool!

    • profile image

      Sidney Rayne 

      9 years ago

      Pretty good read....glad to see you pointed out that a few of the colubridae have been know to contain venom (Mangrove, Boomslang..etc). I actually have a black rat snake hybrid...he is by far the tamest snake I have ever owned...quite fascinating as well with some of the behavior he has displayed over the years in terms of defense mechanisms.

    • Ultimate Hubber profile imageAUTHOR

      Ultimate Hubber 

      9 years ago

      Alright... I think we will like to hear about your encounters. Maybe you can write a hub about them.

    • free4india profile image


      9 years ago

      Oh my God ! Snakes gives me shivers..... I have had some encounters with them....

    • Ultimate Hubber profile imageAUTHOR

      Ultimate Hubber 

      9 years ago

      These is a species of snakes known for its beautiful and unique markings and designs on their skins. They look really beautiful and their skin is used to make hand-bags and other stuff. I forgot its name. When I can remember their name I will post it.

    • rb11 profile image


      9 years ago from Las Vegas

      These snakes have an amazing life span, most of the recent snake pictures in your hubs show the snakes with quite unique markings. Their not a bad looking bunch considering they are snakes.


    • Ultimate Hubber profile imageAUTHOR

      Ultimate Hubber 

      9 years ago

      I am glad you liked picture and the description.

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 

      9 years ago from West By God

      Thanks for the picture and excellent description.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)