Great Plains Rat Snake

Great Plains Rat Snake

Brown rat snake, Chicken snake, Eastern spotted snake, Emory's Coluber, Emory's pilot snake, Emory's racer, Emory's snake, Gray rat snake, Mouse snake, Prairie rat snake, Spotted mouse snake, Texas rat snake, Western pilot snake

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Suborder
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Pantherophis emoryi
Population size
Unknown
Life Span
21 yrs
LENGTH
61-153 cm

The Great Plains rat snake is a nonvenomous snake native to the central part of the United States. It is typically light gray or tan in color, with dark gray, brown, or green-gray blotching down its back. There are also stripes on either side of the head which meet to form a point between the eyes.

Distribution

Great Plains rat snakes occur from Missouri to Nebraska, to Colorado, south to Texas, and into northern Mexico. They prefer open grassland or lightly forested habitats but are also found on coastal plains, semi-arid regions, as well as rocky, moderately mountainous regions, and on farmland.

Geography

Continents

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Great Plains rat snakes are solitary and primarily nocturnal creatures. They usually remain still for a majority of their time awake and on average, they only move 188 meters per day. Like most rat snakes, when agitated, the Great Plains rat snake will shake its tail vigorously, which by itself makes no noise, but when it shakes amongst dry leaf litter, it can sound remarkably like a rattlesnake, and often leads to misidentification. Though this snake has very small teeth and is nonvenomous, it will bite. However, as a whole, Great Plains rat snakes are very calm and non-aggressive. Great Plains rat snakes hibernate from late autumn and until late winter or early March. Preferred hibernating places are rocky slopes with some trees on which the snakes can bask.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Great Plains rat snakes are carnivores. They hunt mainly rodents and will also eat birds, and occasionally snakes, lizards, and frogs, all of which they subdue by constriction.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
REPRODUCTION SEASON
May-early June
INCUBATION PERIOD
55-60 days
INDEPENDENT AGE
at birth
FEMALE NAME
female
MALE NAME
male
BABY NAME
snakelet
BABY CARRYING
25 eggs

Great Plains rat snakes are polygynandrous (promiscuous) meaning that both the males and females have multiple partners. The breeding season usually occurs in May or early June. Great Plains rat snakes are oviparous and lay clutches of as many as 25 eggs in the late spring. Incubation lasts between 55 and 60 days. Baby rat snakes are independent from the moment they hatch and usually remain near the place they were born for up to 2 years. Females become reproductively mature at 8-10 years of age while males are ready to breed when they are between 6 and 8 years old.

Population

Population threats

There are no major threats to this species at present.

Population number

The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Great Plains rat snake total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.

References

1. Great Plains Rat Snake on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantherophis_emoryi
2. Great Plains Rat Snake on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/63861/12723067

More Fascinating Animals to Learn About