Great Plains Rat Snake (Pantherophis emoryi)

Description: Tan or gray body with 41-56 brown blotches edged with black down the middle of the back. Anal scale is divided. Scales weakly keeled on middle of back, scales of sides are smooth.

Habitat: Rocky draws and hillsides normally near water.

Size: Typical adult length: 61-91 cm (24-36 in); Maximum 62 inches (Collins & Collins 1993).

Diet: Rodents, lizards, snakes and small birds; kills by constriction.

Natural History: This rat snake hunts largely in the evening and night. Like our other rat snakes, the Great Plains Rat Snake will vibrate its tail when alarmed and may bite and defecate if handled. However this species seems less aggressive than our other rats snakes. This snake is considered beneficial as it eats large numbers of rodents. This snake is often called the Corn Snake in Nebraska.

Similar species:

  1. Bullsnake more boldly patterned on tail, look for nearly black rings contrasting strongly with tan background. Anal scale undivided.
  2. Fox Snake and Young Black Rat Snake normally lack arrowhead pattern on head.