Everglades Ratsnake (Elaphe obsoleta rossalleni)
Everglades Rat Snake
Scientific name: Elaphe obsoleta rossalleni
Description: Average adult size is 36-72 inches (91.4-182.8 cm), record is 90 inches (228.6 cm). Adults are orangish with 4 faint black longitudinal stripes. The belly is pale yellow-orange. The tongue and iris are orange. The scales are weakly keeled, and there are 27 dorsal scale rows at midbody. The pupil is round.
Range: In Florida, Everglades Ratsnake is found in the Everglades region from Lake Okeechobee south to the tip of the peninsula and into the upper keys. In this area, it also intergrades (interbreeds) with the yellow rat snake (Elaphe obsoleta quadrivittata). Adults of these intergrade specimens may be yellow-orange with faint blotches. This subspecies is not found outside of Florida.
Habitat: Commonly found near pinelands, hardwood hammocks, swamps, marshes, prairies, agricultural fields, and residential areas.
Comments: The Everglades rat snake is primarily active at night. It is both a terrestrial borrower and extremely good climber. It is found under rocks and boards, and in trees under bark and within knot holes and palm fronds.
Everglades Ratsnake feeds on rodents, lizards, frogs, and birds and their eggs.
Everglades Ratsnake lays eggs. Breeding occurs from April-July, 5-27 eggs are laid during the summer, and newborns hatch from July-September.
Comparison with other species and subspecies: The yellow rat snake (Elaphe obsoleta quadrivittata) adult has a yellowish body and iris, and black tongue; the juvenile lacks a pinkish hue. The juvenile corn snake (Elaphe guttata guttata) is brownish with a checkerboard patterned belly.