Rat Snakes: A Common Sight in Tennessee

Rat Snakes: A Common Sight in Tennessee

Rat snakes are a common sight in Tennessee, and they can be found in many different habitats throughout the state. These non-venomous snakes are often mistaken for copperheads or other venomous species, but they are harmless to humans. Rat snakes are beneficial to the environment, as they help to keep rodent populations in check. In this article, we will discuss the characteristics of rat snakes, their habitat and behavior, and how to identify them.

What Are Rat Snakes?

Rat snakes belong to the Colubridae family of snakes, which includes over 2,000 species worldwide. They are typically medium-sized snakes that range from two to four feet in length. Rat snakes come in a variety of colors and patterns, including black, gray, brown, olive green, yellowish-brown or reddish-brown. They have smooth scales and a pointed head with round eyes that have vertical pupils.

Where Do Rat Snakes Live?

In Tennessee, rat snakes can be found in a variety of habitats including forests, fields, wetlands and urban areas. They prefer areas with plenty of cover such as logs or rocks where they can hide from predators. They also like areas with plenty of food sources such as rodents or birds’ nests.

How Do Rat Snakes Behave?

Rat snakes are active during the day and night but tend to be more active at night when it is cooler outside. They hunt by using their keen sense of smell to locate prey such as rodents or birds’ eggs. Once they find their prey they will strike quickly and swallow it whole. Rat snakes will also climb trees or shrubs in search of food or shelter from predators such as hawks or owls.

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How Can You Identify a Rat Snake?


The best way to identify a rat snake is by its coloration and patterning. As mentioned earlier rat snakes come in a variety of colors including black, gray, brown olive green yellowish-brown or reddish-brown with smooth scales and a pointed head with round eyes that have vertical pupils. Additionally some rat snake species may have stripes running down their back while others may have blotches on their sides or belly area which can help distinguish them from other snake species found in Tennessee such as copperheads or water moccasins which both have distinct markings on their bodies that make them easily identifiable from other snake species found in the state.

Are Rat Snakes Dangerous?

No rat snakes are not dangerous to humans as they do not possess any venomous qualities like some other snake species found in Tennessee such as copperheads or water moccasins which both possess venomous bites that can cause serious injury if not treated immediately by medical professionals . However if you do encounter a rat snake it is best to leave it alone as it may become defensive if it feels threatened by your presence .

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