Species group: Corn and Rat Snakes
Other common names: Texas Ratsnake, Chicken Snake, Lindheimer
Scientific name: Elaphe obsoleta lindheimeri
The Texas Ratsnake is found throughout Texas, southeastern Louisiana, southwestern Mississippi, south-central Kansas and south-central Oklahoma. Their common habitat is farmland, wooded areas, swampland, wetlands, and suburban areas where rodents can also be found.
Appearance / health:
A relatively large snake that grows to about 6 feet in length, the Texas Ratsnake has a light gray body color with brown saddle-shaped markings on the back. As they mature, the body color changes to shades of yellow, orange, or light brown, with slightly faded markings. The top of the head shows an arrowhead-shaped patterning that becomes grayish black in adults. Various morphs and phases have been developed through captive breeding.
Behavior / temperament:
Although non-venomous, the Texas Ratsnake is not recommended for beginners because they are known to be temperamental and quick to defend themselves. They raise their heads, coil up, shake their tails and strike out in anger. In captivity, they are known to live up to 25 years.
Texas Ratsnakes are best kept in woodland-type enclosures provided with climbing branches, hiding places, and a water dish. Day temp: 75-90F; night temp: 60-70F
Fresh water should be provided daily, and the enclosure should be cleaned and disinfected regularly.
The primary diet of the Texas Ratsnake is small mammals, especially mice and rats. They may also feed on birds, chickens, and their eggs and nestlings.
Texas Ratsnakes are egg-layers, depositing clutches of 6-20 eggs under fallen leaves, in a hollow tree or stump, or other safe hiding places.
voracious appetite, beautiful snake
nippers, vicious bitters, beginners, snakeproof room, strong powerful snake, Cage aggression
Texas leucistic ratsnake, free roaming time
Texas Rat Snake
My Texas rat snake's name was Vinnie. We got him from PetCo and he was my little baby. He was very gentle, and after getting handled daily for around 10-15 minutes, he became used to handling and we could hold him for longer. I'm very sad to say that he had seizures towards the end of his life and died after having him for about 7 months..
From decidueye Feb 17 2017 4:48PM
A Feisty Texan
inter-breeds with related species and subspecies. It is an ideal candidate for breeders interested in producing color morphs and hybrids. In fact, while working at the Bronx Zoo I cared for the first group of “scale-less” Texas ratsnakes that turned up – this mutation is now established in the pet trade (I had nothing to do with that, though!). Hardy but with a somewhat “touchy” disposition, it makes a great addition to the collections of experienced keepers seeking a bit of a challenge. The Texas ratsnake usually reaches the very manageable size of 4 feet, but sometimes approaches 5 ½ to 6 feet.
Basic care follows that of the more common North American ratsnakes, but it seems a bit more active than others, and loves to climb. Be sure to plan for a sizable enclosure, as captives are quite stressed by tight quarters, and will then be more likely to remain aggressive..
From findiviglio Jan 23 2016 4:20PM
Master escape artist
When I found a Texas (leucistic) ratsnake at a local pet store for $150, I had to buy it. I had seen these snakes at reptile shows, and I thought they were beautiful. This one was solid white (a milky white), with blue eyes. He was close to 5 feet long when I bought him, so I assumed he was full-grown.
For the first few months, my new snake didn’t mind being handled. He ate well (2 mice a month), and was very active in his terrarium. At times, he was so determined to get out of his terrarium, and would bump his head against the glass. After finding him with a spot of blood on his mouth, I changed him to a plastic terrarium to prevent him from injuring himself. He found a way out of this new terrarium within a month and went missing. I searched my apartment high and low, but couldn’t find him. Two weeks went by and I still hadn’t found him. Going through an old duffel bag one day (the one place I hadn’t looked), I found him curled up. He looked fine, but wasn’t too happy about being returned to his terrarium. After feeding him, I left him alone for a week before attempting to handle him. He became very aggressive from that point on, and I rarely handled him after that.
I ended up giving him to a veterinary friend. I’m not sure how he faired after that. I hated to give up such a beautiful snake, but perhaps it was for the best..
From Southernemma Sep 16 2013 11:44AM