Great Plains Rat Snake

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Is the Great Plains Rat Snake right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Emory’s Rat Snake

Scientific name: Pantherophis emoryi

The basics:
The Great Plains Rat Snake is native to the eastern United States and is found from eastern Missouri and Louisiana in the east, west to Colorado, and south to New Mexico, Texas and Mexico. They inhabit coastal plains, river valleys, rocky mountainous regions, open grasslands, farmland, shrublands, and rural residential areas where their prey (rodents) are also found.

Appearance / health:
Great Plains Rat Snakes have a base body color of tan, light gray, or grayish brown. Markings are large dark chocolate brown blotches sometimes bordered by black. Square-ish black or dark-gray checkered markings are seen on the white belly. A dark spearhead shaped mark appears on the top of the head. Average adult length is 40 inches.

Behavior / temperament:
The Great Plains Rat Snake is nocturnal and shy. They are arboreal and tend to hide among the trees, but can also be found under rocks and crevices. When threatened, they shake their tails against dry leaves to create a rattling sound that scares predators.

Great Plains Rat Snakes are best kept in medium to large enclosures that simulate their river valley natural habitat. Hiding places, stable climbing branches, and a substrate deep enough for burrowing is recommended. A water dish for drinking and soaking should be available.

Fresh water should be provided daily and the cage cleaned and disinfected regularly.

The regular diet of the Great Plains Rat Snake includes rodents, birds, lizards, and frogs.

Great Plains Rat Snakes are oviparous, mating in spring and laying clutches of 5-25 eggs in July. Eggs hatch sometime in September.

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