Great Plains Rat Snake

Great Plains Rat Snake

Other Names: Prairie Cornsnake

Scientific Name: Pantherophis emoryi
(Formerly:  Elaphe guttata)

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
  • Has a “V” pattern on the head where the point faces the nose
  • Head is slightly wider than the neck
  • Total length:  46.0-183.0 cm (18.1-72.0 in)
  • Back color:  gray to light brown
  • Belly color:  white with dark checkerboard pattern
  • May or may not have blotches down the back of the snake that are darker in color


  • Limestone outcrops next to grasslands
  • Rocky hillsides
  • Sometimes caves


  • Small mammals
  • Birds
  • Bird eggs
  • Reptiles

Life History

  • Diurnal and Nocturnal
  • Active season:  Early April – late October
  • Breeding season:  Late April – early May
  • Lays eggs
  • 3-37 eggs per female


Great Plains Rat Snake Range