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The Black Rat Snake•One of the most common in this area.•A harmless snake, non-venomous.•Comes in small variations of color patters, ranging fromblack to black and brown/gray with a checkered belly.The most common variation is depicted above.•Reach an average adult length of up to … Summary 5 Pantherophis obsoletus – also known as the western rat snake, black rat snake, pilot black snake, or simply black snake – is a nonvenomous species of Colubridae found in central North America. When approached, western rat snakes usually remain motionless. Most massasauga snakebites in Ontario have occurred after people deliberately handled or accidentally stepped on one of these animals. According to IUCN, the Western rat snake is locally common and widespread throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. The eyes are round with a black pupil, and particularly in juveniles but not always present in adults, a distinct white margin. 2. [21] It is classified as "critically imperiled" to "imperiled" in the commonwealth. Habitat. Generally shiny black, but some individuals show dark brown blotches. Common. Another report describes a specimen that had eaten eight birds, most likely goldfinches, that had been attracted to a small fountain installed as a bird bath at a desert camp. Only someone who has dealt with a mouse or rat problem can truly appreciate this natural, nonvenomous hunter of rodents. Great Plains Rat Snake. It has heat-sensing pits on each side of its smallish head, the scales are keeled, and the anal scale is single. Frogs also constitute an important part of their diet: Ruthven (1928) mentioned that in Michigan they made up the main portion of their diet. Western rat snakes … In states farther west, they frequent more flat open meadows and grassland where they use cover, so one may flip tin, boards, and rocks and turn up many of these snakes. Update COSEWIC Status Report on the Eastern Massasauga, Sistrurus catenatus catenatus. Rat snakes live in a variety of habitats ranging from a rocky hillside to flat farmland. Young western ratsnakes eat frogs, lizards, and insects. A juvenile western rat snake I found on the road just before a storm had eaten a gray treefrog (LeClere, 1996). Adult eastern rat snakes have few known predators other than humans. Prepared for the Committee of the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), November 2001. v+18pp. An arboreal species, the snakes can get into human residences, where they may live in attics undetected. If harassed, it will produce a foul-smelling musk to deter predators. [1] The eastern massasauga has been listed as a candidate species on the United States Endangered Species Act since 1999. [18], The snakes hibernate during the winter underground or in deep crevices. [8] It occurs in various habitats ranging from swamps and marshes to grasslands, usually below 1500 m elevation. Eastern rat snakes do especially well in early successional and edge habitats. After envenomation, the rattlesnake is able to withdraw from the dangers of sharp-toothed prey animals until they are subdued and even partially digested by the action of the venom. The adults usually consume rodents. No type locality was included in Cope's original 1867 description. Pantherophis obsoletus – also known as the western rat snake, black rat snake, pilot black snake, or simply black snake – is a non-venomous species of Colubridae found in central North America.No subspecies are currently recognized. Western ratsnakes live in a wide variety of habitats: rocky, wooded hillsides, wooded areas along streams and rivers (especially in former prairie and savanna areas of the state), and in or near farm buildings.

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