Black Ratsnake (Elaphe obsoleta) - Wiki
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[Photo] Elaphe obsoleta, Black rat snake, Schwarze Erdnatter, Baltimore, USA. Date 2004. Author Fritz Geller-Grimm
Common names: black rat snake, pilot black snake, black snake.
Elaphe obsoleta is a non-venomous colubrid species found in North America. It prefers heavily wooded areas and they are known for having excellent climbing ability, including the ability to climb the trunk of large mature trees without the aid of branches. No subspecies are currently recognized.
This species is a constrictor, meaning it suffocates its prey, coiling around small animals and tightening its grip until they can no longer draw breath, before eating them. (The process of constriction.) Though they do consume mice and rats, the Black Rat Snakes also willingly consume other snake, chipmunks, squirrels, birds, and bird eggs. In captivity, they have a reputation for being "vacuum cleaners," and will eat almost anything placed in front of them.
Adults can become quite large and are known to reach up to eight (8) feet, being the largest snake found in Canada. The record length for a Black Rat Snake is 101 inches, making it (officially) the largest snake in North America. Unofficially, Indigo Snakes are known to exceed them, and one wild caught Pine Snake with a portion of its tail missing measured 111 inches.
When spotted by humans, Black Rat Snakes may freeze and wrinkle themselves into a series of kinks. If cornered, they may attempt to mimic rattlesnakes' behavior by vibrating the tip of their tail, giving a buzzing low-pitch sound. Black Rat Snakes are usually non-aggressive, but may strike at anyone who tries to capture or harm them. They are non-venomous, and bites are not usually serious.
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