Black Rat Snake (Young)

Black Rat Snake (Young)

Other Names: Western Rat Snake, Pilot Blacksnake (young)

Scientific Name: Scotophis obsoletus
(Formerly: Elaphe obsolete)

Family: Colubridae



Description & Size

  • Legless
  • No eyelids
  • Lacks external ears
  • Scales on the back have low ridge in the middle (weakly keeled)
  • Divided anal scale
  • Total length:  100.0-256.5 cm (39.4-101.0 in)
  • Back color:  black
  • Belly and chin color:  white, may or may not have a dark checkerboard pattern on belly
  • Juveniles:  usually strongly blotched pattern on the back with light coloration in between


  • Almost any habitat in their range
  • Common in
    • Moist woodlands
    • Rocky outcrops with woodland and/or grasslands near
    • Rural buildings (barns, sheds, etc.)


  • Birds
  • Bird eggs
  • Small mammals
  • Reptiles
  • Frogs

Life History

  • Nocturnal (Hensley and Smith, 1986)
  • Active season:  Early April – mid-October
  • Breeding season:  May – July (Fitch, 1963)
  • Lays eggs
  • Around 20 eggs per female


Black Rat Snake (Young) Range