Slowinski's rat snake
Slowinski's corn snake is medium-sized and colored grayish-brown, with a series of large, alternating, chocolate-brown blotches. These blotches are often bordered in black. It has a spearhead marking on the head. The belly is checkered black and white, giving it an appearance of maize (its close relative, the corn snake, is believed to have gotten its name for this belly pattern).Show More
While this species resembles superficially the prairie kingsnake (Lampropeltis calligaster ), the spearhead marking present on the head of Slowinski's corn snake is usually sufficient for identification. Its body has a rounded top, steep sides, and a flat belly.
The young of this species can be distinguished from those of the western rat snake (Pantherophis obsoletus ) by considering the dark bar that runs through each eye. In Slowinski's corn snake, this bar extends through the jawline and onto the neck, whereas in the western rat snake the bar extends only to the jawline where it stops abruptly.Show Less
The abundance of the species P. slowinskii is largely unknown. The lack of voucher specimens from Arkansas seems to indicate that it is extremely rare in that state, being known only from isolated localities in the southeastern part. Trauth et al. indicate only a single locality in the state, Drew County.
This species, Pantherophis slowinskii, is nocturnal and quite secretive. Like its sister-species, the Great Plains rat snake (Pantherophis emoryi), it is an excellent climber and likely spends a large portion of its time up in trees. These habits together may explain why it is so infrequently encountered by humans. Its nocturnal tendencies may also help it avoid dangers, such as day-foraging hawks.Show More
Slowinski's corn snake is likely similar in temperament to its sister-species, the Great Plains rat snake, which is very tame. Slowinski's corn snake relies mainly on camouflage for defense and rarely bites.
This species feeds primarily on small mammals and birds. Prey, when caught, is constricted and consumed. Presumably, it follows an activity pattern similar to other rat snakes: hibernate through winter, breed in the spring, and lay eggs in the summer.Show Less