Fun Rat Snake Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Rat Snake Facts For Kids

Arts & Crafts
Learn more
Reading & Writing
Learn more
Math & Logic
Learn more
Sports & Active
Learn more
Music & Dance
Learn more
Social & Community
Learn more
Mindful & Reflective
Learn more
Outdoor & Nature
Learn more
Read these Tokyo facts to learn all about the Japanese capital.

Until the early 2000s, it was easy to describe rat snakes (Elaphe obsoleta). There used to be two types of rat snakes, namely the Old World rat snakes and the New World rat snakes. They were also believed to be the member of the same genus, that is the Elaphe genus. However, with technological advancement, things started to change in 2002. DNA differences were found in the Old World rat snakes and the New World rat snakes, thus, the new classifications took place and the snakes were moved to new genera.

There are many species of rat snakes (Elaphe obsoleta) around the world. Some of the most common rat snake species are Texas rat snakes, black rat snakes also known as Eastern rat snakes, yellow rat snakes and gray rat snakes. All these rat snakes are different in terms of their appearance.

Rat snakes are non-venomous, thus they pose no threats to human beings. They mostly kill their prey by constriction, which means they use their body pressure. Keep on reading to know more about this snake.

If you like this article, check out the hognose snake and the cottonmouth snake.

Fun Rat Snake Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Rat, frogs, lizards, voles, chipmunks, squirrels, shrews, bird eggs, birds

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

1.1 - 4.9 lb (0.5 - 2.2 kg)

How long are they?

2-10 ft (0.6-3 m)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

black-and-white, tan, yellow, gray

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Humans And Climate Change

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern Javan rat snake - Near Threatened Sichuan rat snake - Endangered

Where you'll find them?

Grasslands, Forests, Freshwater, Open Fields, Farmland


Oklahoma, United States, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Northern Louisiana, Arkansas Yellow Rat Snake - Georgia, Southern Wisconsin Texas Rat Snake - Texas, North And South Carolina, Eastern Rat Snake - New England, Florida Gray Rat Snake - Indiana




Elaphe, Gonyosoma





Rat Snake Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Rat Snake?

Belonging to the reptilia class and Colubridae family, this species of snake is the most friendly snake in the world. Among all the other species of rat snakes, the black rat snake or the Eastern rat snake is supposedly the most common one. The black rat snake is also known as the chicken snake. Contrary to their name, these snakes are not entirely black. They have a black body and a white belly. People often get confused between a black snake and a black rat snake. However, they are not the same. Although, they both belong to the same family.

What class of animal does a Rat Snake belong to?

They belong to the reptilia class of animals. However, depending on the specific species of rat snake (Elaphe obsoleta), their genus varies. Before 2002 they were all believed to be part of the same Elphae genus. But a scientific discovery made by herpetologist Urs Utiger changed the classification of the rat snakes in their entirety.

While many organizations, such as the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, adopted this pantherophis, the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature along with others listed the pantherophis species as invalid.

How many Rat Snakes are there in the world?

The exact number of rat snakes in the world is unknown. However, they are spread across different parts of the world, such as North America and Southeast Asia,

Where does a Rat Snake live?

The different species of rat snakes (Elaphe obsoleta) can be found in a variety of habitats across the world. The most popular places to spot the snakes, however, are New England, Georgia, Texas, South, South-East Asia, Southern Wisconsin, Louisiana, Arkansas. Oklahoma, Southern Ontario, North America.

What is a Rat Snake's habitat?

Rat snakes live in various habitats, such as forests, grasslands, open fields, arid land, brackish water, wetlands, coastal regions, farmland, and near freshwater sources such as rivers.

Who do Rat Snakes live with?

Many believe that snakes travel in pairs or in groups. However, that is not true. The same theory applies to rat snakes. They roam around individually.

How long does a Rat Snake live?

The corn snakes have a life expectancy of six to eight years. Black rat snakes can live up to 20 years and the eastern rat snake has a life expectancy of 10-15 years. Thus, it varies from specie to specie.

How do they reproduce?

These snakes usually mate during the months of late spring when the temperature starts getting a little warmer. Despite the fact that snakes are cold-blooded animals, the reproductive cycle of these animals is affected by the climate of the environment in which they live. The females are known to lay fewer eggs during winter while usually, they lay around two clutches of eggs in a year with each clutch having up to 25 eggs in a litter. The males are known to attract their mates by releasing pheromones. There is tough competition to win the female, and often males are known to fight amongst themselves with the winner being permitted to mate with the female. The eggs are saved in hidden places like logs and the eggs usually hatch after around two months.

What is their conservation status?

Rat snakes are among the most commonly found large snake species. In suburban areas, they can be easily found in barns or abandoned buildings. Due to their wide visibility, these snakes come under the Least Concern category of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list. However, the Javan rat snake is classified as Near Threatened and the Sichuan rat snake is under Endangered.

Rat Snake Fun Facts

What do Rat Snakes look like?

Rat snakes are among the largest non-venomous snakes.

Covered with keeled scales, depending on the species these snakes differ in color. The black rat snakes (Eastern rat snake) have a black body and a white belly, and a white chin. The yellow rat snaked are of bright yellow color, along with black or brownish stripes. Whereas the gray rat snakes are dark to light gray in color. These snakes grow up to 2-10 ft (0.6-3 m) in length.

How cute are they?

It is tough to say how cute are they, given that they are snakes, after all. The keeled scales animal is dreaded by many across the world. However, these snakes are very shy in nature. They are non-aggressive, non-venomous, and so they practically cannot hurt humans. They are even considered friendly and beneficial by the farmers because they eat the pest animals such as mice and rats.

How do they communicate?

Rat snakes communicate using pheromones. This is a common phenomenon among males. Through this process, they try to attract females during the mating season.

How big is a Rat Snake?

These snakes can grow up to 2-10 ft (0.6-3 m) in length. They are among the longest non-venomous snakes. They can grow almost 18 times bigger than the thread snakes, which are the smallest non-venomous snakes.

How fast can a Rat Snake move?

These snakes are pretty fast. In an experiment, it was found out that these snakes have high acceleration and in a race comes second to a rattlesnake.

How much does a Rat Snake weigh?

These snakes can grow pretty huge. Their average weight can be somewhere around 1.1-4.9 lb (0.5-2.2 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for the male and female snakes of this species. Thus, both are known as rat snakes.

What would you call a baby Rat Snake?

The baby rat snake goes by the baby name of the parent species. The babies are called snakelets or hatchlings.

What do they eat?

Just as their name suggests, their most common prey is rats. Among their other prey are small rodents, frogs, lizards, voles, chipmunks, squirrels, shrews, bird eggs, and birds.

Are they poisonous?

No, these snakes are not poisonous or venomous. Instead of venom, they at first vibrate their tail so that their prey confuses them with rattlesnakes. After that, they use their body pressure to kill their prey.

Would they make a good pet?

They are considered good pets. They are very low maintenance, and thus, believed to be ideal pets, mostly by Americans. They also help to keep other snakes and pests, that is why farmers like to have these snakes around as a means to keep their crops safe.

Did you know...

Despite their unusually large size, these snakes eat only once every seven to ten days.

Different types of Rat Snake

A wide range of rat snakes is found in the world. The black rat snake, which is the largest rat snake, is found in New England, Georgia, and southern Wisconsin. The Texas rat snake is yellow, green, and brown in color and is found in Texas, parts of Arkansas, and Oklahoma. The gray rat snake is light gray in color and is found all across the USA. Lastly, the yellow rat snake is bright yellow in color with black stripes and is an inhabitant of Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida.

Why are Rat Snakes beneficial?

These snakes are considered beneficial by the farmers as they help to keep the harmful pests away, they also keep some snakes away as well.

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 rattlesnakes and coral snakes.

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

Written By
Moumita Dutta

Moumita is a multilingual content writer and editor. She has a PostGraduate Diploma in sports management, which enhanced her sports journalism skills, as well as a degree in journalism and mass communication. She's good at writing about sports and sporting heroes. Moumita has worked with many soccer teams and produced match reports, and sports is her primary passion.

Read The Disclaimer

Was this article helpful?