Black Ratsnake (Elaphe obsoleta obsoleta)

General Information

Black ratsnakes are very common across the Northeastern, Midwestern, and Southern United States. They can be found in areas such as rocky outcroppings, wooded sections, abandoned buildings, and trash dumps. Adults usually reach 4 to 6 feet in length, though some can get as large as 7 feet.


Black ratsnakes are very easy to care for, but are also often not very friendly toward humans. They have simple housing requirements; substrate and water bowl are sufficient, but hiding box and climbing branch are preferred also. Black ratsnakes are easy to feed and are not very picky eaters. They readily accept live or pre-killed rodents, and sometimes chicks or chicken eggs. Temperatures in the mid 70s to lower 80s are best.

Information is based on the personal experience of the author and on:
Mehrtens, John M. Living Snakes of the World in Color. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., 1987.