Geographical Range Eastern United States
Habitat Forests, wooded canyons, rocky uplands, swamps, farmlands
Scientific Name Elaphe obsoleta obsoleta
Conservation Status Not listed by IUCN

This snake’s preference for rats and mice makes it popular among farmers. The black rat snake is a good climber and likes to hang out in barn rafters, where it gets a good view of any rodents. Of course, it also spends a lot of time in trees, where it also stays on the lookout for any small animals it can eat.

Rat snakes are shy animals that tend to avoid confrontation. When they feel threatened, they coil up their body and vibrate their tail; if they happen to be coiled in dead leaves, the noise sounds like a rattle. Rat snakes also produce a foul-smelling musk that they can release on a predator when it picks them up. This usually deters the predator from attacking any further.