Fun Yellow Rat Snake Facts For Kids

Joan Agie
Oct 20, 2022 By Joan Agie
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Natalie Rayworth
Fact-checked by Smriti Chaudhary
Read these yellow rat snake facts to learn more about the biology of this wonderful snake species.

Belonging to the genera elaphe, and members of the rat snake family, yellow rat snakes (Pantherophis alleghaniensis) are a group of fascinating reptiles that are also great quality pets. With distinctly striped bodies and vibrant shading, yellow rat snakes fall under the category of non-poisonous group snakes.

These members of the rat snake clan are the southeastern representative of the family.

The yellow rat snakes range in shade from yellow to olive. In fact, the variation in the vibrant to dull shading of these snakes depends largely on their geographical distributions.

Read on to discover some amazing facts about the yellow rat snake. After reading about the interesting biological facts of yellow rat snakes check our other articles on black rat snake and gray rat snake.

Yellow Rat Snake Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a yellow rat snake?

Yellow rat snakes (Pantherophis alleghaniensis) are a snake that belong to genus elaphe.

What class of animal does a yellow rat snake belong to?

Yellow rat snakes (Pantherophis alleghaniensis) belong to the class reptilia.

How many yellow rat snakes are there in the world?

There are no exact and concise details available about the total population of the yellow rat snake (Pantherophis alleghaniensis). However, these reptiles are known to spread over the geographical range of Florida. These snakes can be commonly found in barns and abandoned buildings.

Where does a yellow rat snake live?

Yellow rat snakes are excellent climbers. Foraging in tall cypress trees, yellow rat snakes dwell in a variety of habitats such as slash pine scrub, citrus groves, oak hammocks, pine flatlands, swamps, pastures, deciduous hardwoods, abandoned buildings, coastal hardwood hammocks, and fallow fields.

What is a yellow rat snake's habitat?

Yellow rat snakes can be located in the topography of North and South Carolina, as well as Florida.

Who do yellow rat snakes live with?

Yellow rat snakes are quite shy and take on passive behaviors. These snakes tend to spend a larger part of their lifespan in solitude. However, a behavioral range depending on the geographical distribution of the yellow rat snake, is also commonly observed.

How long does a yellow rat snake live?

The average lifespan of yellow rat snakes ranges between ten to 15 years, however, the longevity of these reptiles is known to be as much as 20 years in captivity.

How do they reproduce?

Yellow rat snakes, like other members of colubridae, are oviparous reptiles. The reproductive cycle in these snakes generally ranges from March to June.

During the breeding season, males and females interact with each other through pheromones. The males then coil with their female partners and position their cloaca for mating. The copulation may last from a few minutes to several hours.

Following fertilization and a gestation period of about five weeks, the female lays a clutch size of around 12 to 20 eggs in abandoned and inconspicuous areas. Hatchlings are born after an incubation period of about 65 to 70 days.

What is their conservation status?

There are no exact details about the conservation status of the yellow rat snake. It is generally assumed that their population is stable across their natural habitat and therefore no conservation efforts are required.

Yellow Rat Snake Fun Facts

What do yellow rat snakes look like?

The slender yet muscular body of these snakes is covered with ridged scales. A series of four strips running down the back of the yellow rat snake marks is what distinguishes them from other members of the rat snake family. The shades of yellow rat snakes range from bright and vibrant golden-yellow tones to dull and dark shades.

The young of this species differ from their adult relatives. However, with maturity, these spots are replaced by the stripes.

The tongue of the yellow rat snake is black-toned. Yellow rat snakes exhibit proper dentition, though they are not venomous. Species living in the north are darker in color.

How cute are they?

Yellow rat snakes are a group of classified snakes, and by no means can these reptiles be categorized as cute. However, owing to their bright shading, patterned with stripes and weakly keeled scales, yellow rat snakes make fascinating members of colubridae.

How do they communicate?

Though not much is known about the communication habits of yellow rat snakes, these snakes show various circumstantial behavioral patterns. Yellow rat snakes are observed to communicate with their potential partners during the mating seasons through pheromones.

In case of danger these snakes are known to exhibit a motionless stupor.

In case of provocation and aggressive displays, yellow rat snakes may coil themselves, vibrating their tails to emit rattling sounds and strike on further provocation. A number of rat snakes are also known to emit a foul-smelling musk to deter predators.

How big is a yellow rat snake?

Yellow rat snakes are a group of medium-sized rat snakes. The average length of the yellow rat snake ranges between 48-60 in (4-5 ft).

How fast can a yellow rat snake move?

There are no exact details about the speed of yellow rat snakes, however, these snakes are known to be quite passive and slow gliding. Under dire circumstances, such as when threatened by predators, these reptiles freeze in a completely motionless trance.

How much does a yellow rat snake weigh?

Yellow rat snakes weigh around 0.3 lb (5.2 oz).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no specific designation allotted to the members of the yellow rat snake species on the basis of their sex. Male members of the species are referred to as male yellow rat snakes, while females are referred to as female yellow rat snakes.  

What would you call a baby yellow rat snake?

Juvenile yellow rat snakes are referred to as snakelets, neonates, hatchlings, or juveniles snakes.

What do they eat?

Yellow rat snakes consume a carnivorous diet. The diet of this species comprises of mice, chipmunks, rats, moles, small bird eggs, lizards, and frogs.

Are they poisonous?

Yellow rat snakes are known to be passive in behavior. Under continuous provocation and self-defense, this species may show aggressive behavior and bite the offender. However, yellow rat snakes are known to be a non-poisonous group of snakes.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, adult yellow rat snakes can make good pets. Due to their non-venomous characteristics and bright, vibrant colorings, they are adopted as pets in a number of reptile-loving households. However, though these rat snakes do adjust and settle into their surroundings, they may occasionally bite when disturbed or provoked.

Did you know...

The sex determination of yellow rat snakes depends largely on the temperature allocated to the egg during incubation. Warm temperature usually creates male snakes, while females favor cooler temperatures. Like a number of members of the snake family, yellow rat snakes also exhibit the quality of constriction. They may coil themselves around their prey in order to suffocate them.

Black rat snakes often interbreed with yellow rat snakes, but when you compare a black rat snake to a yellow rat snake, there are various differences that you will notice, including appearance and habitats.

Black rat snakes have a black top along with some white color between their scales, while a yellow rat snake has a yellow, orange or green color with four dark stripes on the body.

Black rat snakes can be commonly found in the mountains of South Carolina and Georgia while yellow rat snakes are found along the coast in Georgia and Carolina.

How do yellow rat snakes kill their prey?

Yellow rat snakes are generally subdued and only show aggressive behavior when provoked or hunting. These snakes strike their prey using techniques that depend on the size of the hunt. In the case of small prey, yellow rat snakes strike and directly swallow their small hunts. However, if the prey are bigger, these reptiles may switch to constriction methods.

The yellow rat snake's birthing process

Yellow rat snakes, following fertilization, give rise to around 12 and 20 eggs. The females of the species are known to lay their eggs in burrows and other inconspicuous regions. The eggs are incubated for about 65 to 70  days, and then the hatchlings are born.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other reptiles including burmese python, or rattlesnake.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our Yellow rat snake coloring pages.

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Written by Joan Agie

Bachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

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Joan AgieBachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

With 3+ years of research and content writing experience across several niches, especially on education, technology, and business topics. Joan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Anatomy from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, and has worked as a researcher and writer for organizations across Nigeria, the US, the UK, and Germany. Joan enjoys meditation, watching movies, and learning new languages in her free time.

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Fact-checked by Smriti Chaudhary

Bachelor of Technology specializing in Information Technology

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Smriti ChaudharyBachelor of Technology specializing in Information Technology

Smriti, a student data scientist, and coder, is pursuing her Bachelor of Technology at K.J. Somaiya College of Engineering. She has achieved top rankings in the International English Olympiad, National Spelling Bee, and PSAT/SAT English Section. She is experienced in content creation and editing for various academic institutions.

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