Species information


Black Rat Snake

Elaphe obsoleta obsoleta


Common name

Black Rat Snake

Scientific name

Elaphe obsoleta obsoleta




As the name suggests, the black rat snake is usually totally black in colour. Hatchlings are actually grey with black dorsal blotches, the pattern does eventually change to the characteristic black. In some specimens a white outline is present on some of the scales, this is a subtle reminder of the snake's old patterning.



Massachusetts, the Carolinas, Nebraska, Oklahoma.


Adult size

4-6 ft is usual, some specimens can get larger though.


Approx lifespan

Up to 20 years.


REcomended vivarium size



Basic set up type

Woodland, provide hides at both ends of the vivarium (both the warmer end and the cooler end). Sturdy branches may be used for the occasional climb. Warm end temperatures should be 88f and cool end temperatures should be room temperature.



Black rat snakes should be fed a diet of rodents.


Further reading



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