Black Rat Snake
Elaphe obsoleta


  • Adults are usually a shiny dark black dorsally as their name implies (sometimes showing a spotted pattern when hybridization with other sub-species occurs
  • white chin and throat
  • ventral side (belly) is white or cream colored sometimes with a checker-board pattern near the throat.
  • scales weekly keeled


Rat snakes are excellent climbers and spend a lot of time in trees. Black rat snakes live at all elevations, from sea level to high altitudes in the Appalachian Mountains and in habitats ranging from a rocky hillside of mountains to flat farmland.


The Black Rat Snake is the most widely distributed common rat snake with a range from New England south through Georgia and west across the northern parts of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, and north through Oklahoma to southern Wisconsin. There is also an isolated population in southern Canada and northern New York


Georgia Wildlife Web

Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern/Central North America. A Peterson Field Guide. Roger Conant and Joseph Collins 3rd Edition. Houghton Mifflin, New York, NY. 1998.