Get to Know the Rat Snake: Tennessee’s Most Popular Reptile

The Fascinating History of the Rat Snake

The rat snake, also known as the black rat snake, is a species of non-venomous snake native to Tennessee. It is one of the most common snakes in the state and can be found in a variety of habitats, from woodlands to suburban areas. The rat snake is an important part of Tennessee’s ecosystem, helping to keep rodent populations in check.

The rat snake has been around for centuries and has been documented in many different cultures. In ancient Greece, it was believed that the rat snake could bring good luck and ward off evil spirits. In Native American folklore, the rat snake was seen as a symbol of strength and courage.

Identifying Rat Snakes

Rat snakes are typically black or dark gray in color with white or yellowish stripes running down their backs. They can grow up to five feet long and have smooth scales that are slightly keeled (ridged). They have round pupils and their heads are usually wider than their necks.

Rat snakes can be found throughout Tennessee but they are most common in the eastern part of the state. They prefer habitats with plenty of trees and shrubs where they can hide from predators. They are also often found near water sources such as streams or ponds where they can hunt for food.

What Do Rat Snakes Eat?

Rat snakes are carnivorous animals that feed mainly on small rodents such as mice, rats, voles, and chipmunks. They will also eat birds, lizards, frogs, eggs, and even other snakes if they get the chance. Rat snakes hunt by using their keen sense of smell to locate prey before striking quickly with their sharp teeth.

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Are Rat Snakes Dangerous?

Rat snakes are not dangerous to humans unless provoked or threatened. If threatened they may bite but their bites are not venomous so there is no need for medical attention unless infection occurs from a bite wound. It is best to leave them alone if you come across one in your yard or garden as they will usually move on after a few minutes if left undisturbed.

How Can You Help Protect Rat Snakes?

Rat snakes play an important role in controlling rodent populations which helps keep diseases like Lyme disease at bay so it is important that we protect them from harm whenever possible. One way you can help protect rat snakes is by creating habitat for them in your yard or garden by providing plenty of hiding places such as logs or rocks where they can feel safe from predators like hawks or cats. You should also avoid using pesticides or herbicides which can be toxic to these animals if ingested accidentally while hunting for food. Finally, you should never attempt to handle a wild rat snake as this could cause it unnecessary stress which could lead to injury or death for the animal