Fun Baird's Rat Snake Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Jan 05, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Bairds rat snake facts shed light on this reptile.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.7 Min

Do you want your kid to enhance their knowledge about animals and birds? You could introduce them to these beautiful reptiles. Hopefully, the color palette and calm behavior of these snakes will fascinate them and catch their attention.

The Baird's rat snake is a beautiful North American snake. This snake (Pantherophis bairdi) is a slow-moving snake and it is a highly elusive species, seldom encountered in the wild.

The snake is found in the limestone canyon of the cretaceous period. It is also found in the Trans-Pecos desert region. The snake is named after American naturalist, Spencer Fullerton Baird.

The Baird's rat snake is also called Baird's pilot snake, the Great Bend rat snake, and Baird's Coluber. The species was previously placed in the genus Elaphe, and there are no subspecies of the snake presently known.

Like reading about these snakes and want to know more about them? Continue reading for more fun facts about this species.

If you like reading about these reptiles, you may also like reading about the northern pine snake and cape file snake.

Baird's Rat Snake Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Baird's rat snake?

The Baird's rat snake is a snake belonging to the phylum Chordata and order Squamata. The snake belongs to the subfamily Colubrinae. Also, the snake belongs to the suborder Serpentes.

What class of animal does a Baird's rat snake belong to?

The Baird's rat snake belongs to the class Reptilia, meaning it is a reptile.

How many Baird's rat snakes are there in the world?

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, the population trend of this snake (Pantherophis bairdi) is stable. Also, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), it is estimated there are several thousands of these snakes in the world. However, the exact adult population of this species is unknown.

Where does a Baird's rat snake live?

A Baird's rat snake lives in shrublands, forests, rocky areas, semi-arid areas, and deserts. The snake  (Pantherophis bairdi) prefers areas with crevices, sheer canyon walls, and caves. This species of snake has a partly arboreal habitat.

What is a Baird's rat snake's habitat?

The Baird's rat snake distribution includes Mexico and southwestern United States. This snake is found in Texas as well as in the northeastern part of Mexico. The snakes are found in the Big Bend National Park region in Texas.

Who do Baird's rat snakes live with?

The snake is known to live with people as pets.

How long does a Baird's rat snake live?

A Baird's rat snake lifespan in captivity is eight to 12 years.

How do they reproduce?

This snake (Pantherophis bairdi) is oviparous. The snake lays a clutch of 10 eggs and the eggs are laid in the middle of the summer season. The young ones hatch after three months and the clutch usually stays unguarded.  A Baird's rat snake is not a colonial breeder.

What is their conservation status?

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, Baird's rat snake is classified as Least Concern.

Baird's Rat Snake Fun Facts

What do Baird's rat snakes look like?

Rat snakes usually have blotches or stripes on their body. Some species have a combination of stripes and blotches. The pattern of the color on the dorsal side of this species is bright yellow or orange-yellow.

It may also be dark salmon in color. The belly is gray or yellow darkening near the tail. Four stripes are visible from the neck to the tail. These reptiles have no feet.

The rat snakes have prominent eyes. The juvenile of rat snakes has orange or brown bands on its body. The bands disappear with age.

How cute are they?

The rat snake is cute owing to its slow movement and body pattern.

How do they communicate?

These snakes communicate by hissing. If a rat snake feels threatened, it will rattle its tail and make a buzzing sound that is audible.

Essentially, it mimics a rattlesnake and tries to deter a predator. Also if the snake is startled, it will remain motionless for some time. These snakes may also raise their heads and act as if they are ready to strike.

How big is a Baird's rat snake?

An adult Baird's rat snake is 25-55 in (64-140 cm) in length. This snake is shorter than a corn snake which grows up to 71 in (180 cm) in length. The hatchlings of a rat snake are 11.8 in (30 cm) in length.

How fast can a Baird's rat snake move?

There is no definite evidence on exactly how fast a Baird's rat snake can move. However, rat snakes generally can move very fast. The average speed of a rat snake has been calculated to be at around 27 mps (0.027 kps).

How much does a Baird's rat snake weigh?

There is no exact data on the weight of Baird's rat snake. However, rat snakes generally weigh around 1.3-4.8 lb (0.6-2.2 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male and the female snakes of this species do not have separate names.

What would you call a baby Baird's rat snake?

A baby Pantherophis bairdi is called a hatchling.

What do they eat?

The Pantherophis bairdi is a carnivorous snake. It preys on small mammals, young birds, rodents, and lizards. The Baird's rat snake is also known to prey on bats.

Are they poisonous?

No, the Pantherophis bairdi is not poisonous and the bite of the snake is not venomous.

Would they make a good pet?

The Baird's rat snake temperament is calm and owing to its gentle nature and calm temperament, the Pantherophis bairdi is a suitable pet. Housing the snake is easy and a beginner can easily handle and manage these snakes.

The substrate can be made of paper, and this is the best choice for juveniles. Pine or cedar splinters should never be used in the substrate as these materials are harmful to the snakes.

Sand as a substrate also should be avoided as using sand as a substrate may lead to respiratory troubles for the snake. The vivarium should be adequate in size and the temperature in the enclosure should be maintained using an artificial source of heat.

Maintaining proper temperature is essential as the snake needs a warm lying zone throughout the day.

The ideal temperature for the snake is around 85-90 F (29-32 C) during the day and a heat rug should be provided at night. The heat of the tank should be regulated using a regulator and the light source should be switched off at night.

A temperature of around 80 F (26 C) should maintained at night. The temperature should be measured using a thermometer and the vivarium apart from heat should have sufficient light.

Rats and chicks serve as food for captive snakes. Eggs can also be provided as food.

The snake should be monitored if live prey is given as food. These snakes love to hide, so cork, leaves, bark, and logs should be placed in the tank to create hiding spots. Paper towels can also be used.

Feeding a baby snake should be carried out once or twice a week and juvenile snake feeding should be done once every seven days. The adult feeding should be done once in seven days or 14 days.

Did you know...

In German, this snake is called Bairds Kletternatter.

The Elaphe bairdi is a close relative of the rat snake.

The family Colubridae is the largest family of snakes in the world.

This genus also includes the corn snake, the eastern rat snake, and the Great Plains rat snake.

The black rat snake (Pantherophis obsoletus) or the western rat snake kills its prey by constricting it. They are not harmful to humans.

The western rat snake is also called the pilot black snake and is found in central North America. This snake can turn aggressive and it is known to hold its ground in face of danger. The snake is agile and has great strength.

The Oriental rat snake (Zaocys carinatus) is the largest rat snake. It can reach up to 12 ft (3.7 m) in length. The greater or the Indian rat snake can reach 8 ft (2.5 m) in length.

The Philippine rat snake does not possess venom that is deadly and it hunts rats. The Philippine rat snake is also called the reddish rat snake. This rat snake has an excellent sense of smell and kills its prey by constriction.

This snake is found in Tanay in the Phillipines. It has a long and slender body. However, this snake is not as big as the greater or the Indian rat snake.

The gray rat snake will bite if it gets startled, but it is not very aggressive by nature. The gray rat snake preys on rats, small mammals, and birds. It may also feed on eggs. The young ones of the gray rat snake prefer to feed on lizards and frogs.

In fall and the spring seasons, the Baird's rat snake species is diurnal and remains active in the day. However, in the summer months, it turns nocturnal.

The Baird's rat snake is a non-migrant snake and it does not migrate locally. Also, this snake does not migrate long distances.

The Baird's rat snake can be found in the Big Bend National Park in Texas. This snake just like other rat snake is an opportunistic hunter.

Rat snakes are often hunted by other snakes. Rat snakes are also hunted down by mammalian carnivores. Some rat snakes emit a foul-smelling musk to deter predators. Snakes are also hunted by large birds of prey.

Do Baird's rat snakes bite?

This species of snake will bite if it feels threatened.

Are Baird's rat snakes slimy?

There is a general notion that snakes are slimy. However, most terrestrial snakes are not slimy at all. Their scales are dry and the Baird's rat snake is no exception.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Burmese python facts and mud snake facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Baird's rat snake coloring pages.

north america northern mexico southwestern united states and texas

Get directions
We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

Read full bio >