Eastern ratsnakes are primarily diurnal but can be active at night as well. They are expert climbers and swim readily. When threatened, eastern ratsnakes may vibrate their tails rapidly providing a warning “rattle.” If further provoked, they may strike in defense and release a foul musk from their cloaca.
Eastern ratsnakes utilize a variety of habitats across central Florida including hardwood hammocks, pine flatwoods, scrub, swamps, barns, and other structures. They climb trees in search of bird eggs and nestlings. Hollow logs, burrows, and debris piles provide shelter. During cooler weather, eastern ratsnakes brumate underground or in stump holes.