Florida is home to the nation’s most significant snake populations and most varied snake species. Countless scaly reptiles call Florida’s swamps, beaches, woodlands, and marshes home. Wildlife encounters are inevitable if you live in Florida. But when you come upon an animal, it’s crucial to know what species you are looking at. Today, we’ll look at Florida’s list of rat snakes and how to recognize them. After reading this article, you should be able to identify the specific rat snake you discovered in your garden.
Table of content
- A little about rat snakes
- List of rat snakes in Florida
- Final thoughts
A little about rat snakes
As we have already discussed, Florida has a lot of snakes. Having the most significant population means the presence of variety in the town. This article will educate the readers about just seven common snakes in Florida, like the yellow rat snake, copperhead, garter snake, and others. The subfamily Colubrinae, which includes a massive group of snakes known as medium- to large constrictors, comprises snakes known as rat snakes. We primarily found them in the Northern Hemisphere, and they devour rodents. There are New World and Old World rat snake species, although most Americans are only familiar with the New World varieties.
In the New World, there are 14 different species of rat snakes, two of which live in Florida. Additionally, a few snakes closely related to rat snakes and members of the Colubrinae subfamily might be mistaken for rat snakes. There is no discernible reason these snakes’ names alternately contain and exclude spaces.
List of rat snakes in Florida
Another name for the corn snakes is “red snakes.” They are ubiquitous throughout Florida and available in every type of space, from the peninsula to the grounds. Their average size is 3 to 4 feet. Corn snakes are also seen in sizes up to 6 feet, but it is said that corn snakes with giant body sizes do not enjoy longevity of life. They exist in many colors throughout the state, like red, tan, yellow, etc. An easy way to recognize this snake is to not have a dark mark of “V” on the head. Breeding weather is from April to June and is known to lay 40 eggs yearly. Corn snakes do not contain fangs, so they prefer to enjoy the meal by swallowing it. Like other snakes, their diet is small mammals, rodents, mice, and eggs.
The bad news is that they are becoming endangered these days. Habit is not an issue for these snakes. As they primarily live in the jungle, other animals kill them. Another reason for keeping their population under threat is that vehicle drivers crush them with cars.
Everglade rat snakes
These snakes’ colors are astonishing, with black pupils and red eyes. They are straightforward to find in the entire state. Eastern rat snakes are commonly available in grassy areas near the water. They are excellent swimmers and often hide in the water as they find danger or threat nearby. Everglades snakes are friendly in captivity when interacting with human beings but very aggressive in the wild. These snakes usually hatch in the summer and lay 7 clusters of 27 eggs yearly.
Eastern rat snakes
If we talk about the most common snakes in Florida, they are none other than eastern rat snakes. These snakes also have names like chicken snakes, black rat snakes, etc. This snake is average in size, and the standard length of this snake is 3.5 to 7 feet long. A way to recognize this snake is to see its head, which is wider than the entire body. Eastern rat snakes have light-colored bellies, giving them a beautiful look. If we talk about the diet of eastern rat snakes, they usually eat small animals like birds, rodents, and amphibians.
A human-friendly trait of these snakes is that they do not strike back at humans. They prefer to run away from their enemies. They are good swimmers, as well as good climbers. Rather than biting or wrapping the body around the enemies to kill, they produce a weird odor that feels like poison and keeps the enemy away. Their month of laying eggs in July, and they lay 24 eggs.
The grey rat snake
After eastern rat snakes, the gray rat snakes are most common in Florida. These snakes also contain another name regarding habitat: oak snake, white oak snake, etc. People who pet these snakes usually interbreed them with eastern rat snakes to get hybrids. As their name shows, these snakes are gray and have black spots on their backs.
These snakes are giant, and their lays range from 3.5 to 6 feet. The most giant gray rat snake ever seen is 7 feet long. The snakes’ diet differs from rodents, mice, birds, and eggs. They remain conscious about their lives and try to swallow small prey. If they eat any big prey, constriction usually kills them. The gray rat snakes also prefer to live in grassy areas near the water and rocks because they get many chances to escape from their enemies.
Yellow rat snakes
The Florida peninsula is home to the yellow rat snake. The hue of this type is medium-yellow, although it can also be orange-yellow and may have very faint stripes. The newborns have patches of a deeper gray color. They may live much of their lives in trees since they are semi-arboreal. They are frequently seen in magnolia and live oak trees.
Interbreeding between the black and yellow varieties might produce green offspring. Many die on the roads because of their propensity to freeze when faced with danger. They are sluggish snakes but are readily captured and maintained as pets because of their stunning color. This snake will quickly shake its tail when startled. The sound might be mistaken for a rattlesnake’s rattle if dry leaves are nearby. Until it’s ready to mate, this species usually lives alone.
Milk snakes also exist throughout Florida. Compared to the breeds discussed above, these snakes are small and have beautiful patterns with stunning colors on their backs. The marking color is yellow and yellow-black, which adds to the beauty of these snakes. These snakes are nonvenomous, but having a copperhead-related appearance is not a good sign for them. It is because most people confuse them with copperheads and milk snakes.
King snakes also live in Florida, but their population is not notable. These snakes are also known as Florida kingsnakes and eastern kingsnakes. They are beautiful and have darker colors and patterns than the other breeds of snakes. Some species of king snakes in Florida are venomous, but most are not. They usually kill their prey by constriction.
At which time do rat snakes remain active?
According to studies, these snakes are nocturnal and active after sunset. These snakes prefer to live in areas with rocks and old buildings to find their prey.
What is the considerable temperature for the rat snakes?
Rat snakes always prefer to live in an area with a temperature of 85–90 degrees Fahrenheit and high humidity.
What is the lifespan of rat snakes?
Depending on the freedom situation of rat snakes, these snakes can live for 6 to 8 years in the captivity, while there is no perception of their lifespan in the wild.
What do rat snakes eat?
Rat snakes usually eat rodents, mice, frogs, small birds, and the eggs of other animals.
Do rat snakes change their colors?
Rat snakes can change their colors from baby snakes to adults. As baby rat snakes, their color is predominantly light and becomes dark when they are adults.
The United States is home to a wide variety of rat snake species, some of which may be found in the wild in Florida. In Florida, rat snakes inhabit a lush environment with plenty of faunas to eat. Some rat snakes only inhabit a specific region of the state, while others have a habitat that covers the whole. Medium- to large-sized, venom-less rat snakes kill through constriction. Despite their moniker, they are not dangerous to people, and one of their favorite meals is rats. There are two varieties of rat snakes: the Old World (the Eastern Hemisphere) and the New World (the Western Hemisphere).