Eastern Ratsnake

Scientific Name
Pantherophis alleghaniensis
Also Known As
Yellow Rat Snake, Everglades Ratsnake
All of Florida, except Panhandle
Small Mammals, Birds, Amphibians
Life Expectancy
15 Years
The Eastern Ratsnake

Photo 95588184 © Susan Elliott, CC BY-NC

Eastern Ratsnake conservation status - Least Concern

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This Snake is Not Venomous

The Eastern Ratsnake in Central Florida

The eastern ratsnake (Pantherophis alleghaniensis) is a large nonvenomous colubrid snake native to central Florida. Often confused with other ratsnake species, the eastern ratsnake can be identified by its distinct color pattern and scalation.

This comprehensive guide provides detailed identification tips, biology facts, and prevention methods for the eastern ratsnake in central Florida. Read on to learn about eastern ratsnake habits, reproduction, diet, health risks, signs of activity, and professional removal options if you encounter this species on your property.

Appearance and Identification

Eastern ratsnakes can be distinguished from other snakes by their physical characteristics at both juvenile and adult stages

Adult Eastern Ratsnake

Photo 95588184 © Susan Elliott, CC BY-NC

Adult Eastern Ratsnakes

  • Size: Adults average 3-7 feet (0.9-2.1 m) long. Some exceed 8 feet (2.4 m).
  • Color: Adults are solid black or very dark gray. The chin and throat may be white or cream.
  • Scales: Dorsal scale rows number 21-25. Ventral scales total 160-174. The anal plate is divided.
  • Head: The head has a lighter gray facial mask and can appear almost solid black.
Juvenile Eastern Ratsnake

Photo 17321691 © Matt Bertone, CC BY-NC

Juvenile Eastern Ratsnakes

  • Size: Newborn eastern ratsnakes are 10-14 inches (25-36 cm) long and very slender. They reach around 2-3 feet (0.6-0.9 m) long by their first year.
  • Color: Juveniles have a gray or tan body with dark blotches on the back and sides. The belly is a lighter checkerboard pattern.