Black Rat Snake Care Guide (2023)

Table of Contents

Black Rat Snake Care Guide (1)

What's a Black Rat Snake?

It’s not uncommon in some parts of the US for a farmer to stick their hand into a dark chicken nest box to collect eggs, only to feel them moving! It’s generally not the eggs themselves, but rat snakes. This species has a thing for chicken eggs and will not think twice before using their climbing abilities to reach the nest box. While all rat snake species do this, the Texas rat snake is known to have a special fondness for freshly laid eggs. They will quickly swallow whole eggs without breaking the shell, unhinging their jaws and then relying on extra strength stomach acid to breakit down.

Black Rat Snake Size and Color

Black Rat Snake Care Guide (2)

Adult rat snakes are typically 3-5 ft, but large individuals may be well over 6 ft long. The appearance of rat snakes varies greatly throughout the geographic range. Black rat snakes are more northern in distribution and are characteristically black on top with a faint hint of white between some of the scales. Yellow rat snakes are greenish, yellow, or orange with four dark stripes running the length of the body. Gray rat snakes are dark to light gray with darker gray or brown blotches.

Black Rat Snake Location

Black Rat Snake Care Guide (3)

Rat snakes are found throughout every southeastern state and most of the eastern and midwestern states as far north as southern New England and southern Michigan. They occupy a wide variety of habitats including rocky glens, hardwood forests, river floodplains and swamp margins. They are attracted to abandoned buildings and barns and are therefore the most common large snake in suburban areas.

Favorite Meals

In addition to chicken eggs, adult rat snakes consume mice, rats, squirrels, and birds. Juveniles eat small frogs, lizards, and small rodents. Rat snakes are constrictors, and agile climbers that can scale brick walls as well as tree trunks. When frightened they often assume an odd “kinked” posture and remain motionless. They will attempt to frighten a potential predator with a fake rattlesnake tail vibration, and if that doesn’t fool anyone, they exude a really foul musk.

Rat snakes are primarily diurnal, meaning they’re awake during the day and asleep at night, although in super-hot weather they can adapt and become more nocturnal.

(Video) Black Ratsnake Care Guide

Great Beginner Snake

These snakes are good for beginners as they are relatively docile and respond quickly to gentle and consistent handling. Although they should not be handled right after eating (wait 48 hours) most other times will suit them. Periods of shedding and brumation (discussed below) should also hands-off times, however.

Once a trusting bond has been established, these snakes enjoy physical contact with owners and will crawl playfully up and down the keeper’s arms and body. They can become very satisfying long-term companions and when correctly housed and cared for can live up to 20 years old.

Black Rat Snake Habitat

Black Rat Snake Care Guide (4)

These snakes need room to move, but not too much, as this can make them feel insecure. A juvenile Rat will do well in a 10-gallon tank for a couple of years. At 3 years old, your snake will have more than doubled in length and will be sexually mature. At this point, a 20-30 gallon tank is advised. Despite their tendency to climb, most keepers have had the best success with a horizontally oriented tank, rather than a vertical arrangement.

The basic elements of the tank should include

  • a suitable substrate
  • a hide
  • a water dish/shallow pool
  • something for the snake to climb and bask on.
  • A basking lamp can be provided, but it must be carefully placed so that it can never exceed 90 degrees F at the closest possible point to the snake.


A thick layer of aspen shavings is favored by most snake keepers, although many do like cypress shavings just as well. Aromatic woods such as pine and cedar should be avoided as they can cause lung and eye irritation. A dense (2-3inches) covering of shavings provides a light and sanitary bedding that the snake will often disappear under as an alternative to its hide.

Concerning tops of tanks screened for ventilation, if your rat snake can reach the top and the screen is not well secured, he/she can and will make a break for it. In winter, this will undoubtedly end in tragedy, as they will manage to find a place either too hot or too cold for their bodies to sustain a living temperature, unless you find them quickly. If your new tank/terrarium/vivarium comes with a snugly fitting screened top, great, but not sufficient if your pet is more than 30 inches long. Add clamps to two sides, you will thank yourself later.

Black Snake Hides

A hide made of something easily sanitized is essential. Plastic may look tacky, but may be more practical, depending on your lifestyle. I love the look of cork wood, but it is really problematic to clean. Dish washer safe hides and bowls are the easiest by far. If you do decide on cork wood as an attractive and snake friendly hide, I would replace it every year. Remember not to place the hide directly over the mat, unless you have monitored the temperature for at least one week before introducing your snake to the habitat. Halfway between the cool and warm sides is best short term until you are really confident in the temperature gradient. If you decide against plastic furnishings, you can try what some reptile keepers do for sanitation and bake the wood at 250 degrees F for 1 hour.

(Video) S'N'A Introducing Series: Episode 44 - Black Rat Snakes (Pantherophis obsoletus)

Black Rat Snake Care Guide (5)

So, to summarize, the basic set-up should include (inside): an aspen substrate about 2-3 inches deep, a hide, a water bowl, a climbing branch, and a screen that is very, very secure.


It is advisable to provide an insulating layer such as felt or reptile carpet under a glass bottomed tank if a heating mat is used to be certain the snake will not fall asleep on top of a hot mat and burn itself. Snakes can and will choose to rest in an area that ends up being too hot for their safety. As the temperature increases, they don’t always feel it in time to move to a cooler spot. It is up to the keeper to carefully test and retest all surfaces weekly to keep your snake safe.

For temperature measurement, a digital laser thermometer is a convenient and affordable option. For less than $25, a new keeper can take readings from all over the habitat with the push of a button. The overall temperature of the tank should not exceed 86 degrees on the warm side and 76 degrees on the cool side. Readings should therefore be taken at the surface of the bottom of the warm side, the cool side and any basking areas. Keepers need to remember that the ambient temperature of the room can affect the enclosure, so frequent readings are strongly recommended.

Black Snake Brumation

Speaking of temperature gradient, a cold environment will encourage brumation. Brumationis more or less the equivalent to hibernation in mammals. It is a reaction to insufficient heat necessary for normal activities. Brumation can be deliberate and is useful if you are attempting to breed you Rats, or it can be accidental due to heater malfunction. In captivity, brumation is not strictly necessary for health and may cause your pet to be unnecessarily lethargic, with a greater than normal tendency to hide and refuse food. This is yet another reason why temperature monitoring regularly is really quite important.


Rat snakes come from humid southern and eastern climates in the US and Mexico. Keepers in the more arid portions of the US and elsewhere need to bear this in mind. For instance, snake keepers in the Great Basin and desert southwest states will need to be much more mindful of humidity needs for their Rats than those in Alabama. You can easily add humidity to the snake’s enclosure by changing water daily. Warm water will help raise the humidity even more, just make sure it isn’t too warm. Better to err on the side of a bit too cool if uncertain and no thermometer is handy. A warm bath will humidify the habitat for a while, although in extremely dry conditions the effect will not last all day, as the top of the tank will undoubtedly be screened for proper ventilation. Those days when the keeper is away for the day and knows that ambient humidity levels will below 20%, a warm bath in the morning and then spritzing with room temperature water in the late afternoon should help to keep the habitat at about 40-50% humidity, which is what your snake will prefer for general comfort. Sixty percent is preferable when it becomes obvious the snake is preparing to shed.

Because the humidity level throughout even large habitats will be more consistent than temperature gradients, an hygrometer attached to the side of the enclosure will take the guess work out of managing humidity. In humid climates, cool (not cold) water baths should be sufficient. Warm baths in a humid climate may create unsanitary conditions favorable for the growth of molds, so careful observation of what works make take a few weeks. A successful keeper never assumes that once the conditions of temperature and humidity provisions seem optimal, they will stay that way. That is seldom true, and good monitoring of the conditions with changing seasons will prevent problems such a respiratory infections.

Black Snake Diet

Feeding Schedule

When you feed your snake depends on what times he/she is most active. Rats can switch back and forth from day to night, so you may need to observe his/her behavior and then decide the best time of day to feed.

(Video) Rat Snakes- Facts and Feeding!

How often you feed your snake depends on how old it is. Baby snakes don’t even start to think about food until they are two to four weeks old. Once they do, they generally need to eat about twice a week. More frequent feedings will encourage them to grow faster, if that is what you wish. As your snake gets older, he/she will not need to be fed quite as often. In fact, one of the more convenient things about adult Rat snakes is that they only need to eat about every seven to ten days.

Separate Feeding Enclosure?

Food can be provided right within the habitat or in a separate enclosure. The use of a separate feeding enclosure is a subject of debate among fanciers. Some feel that while a separate feeding enclosure may not be strictly necessary, but it can sometimes be helpful. One argument in favor is that using a different habitat for feeding times can help to keep the main enclosure cleaner and more sanitary. A separate feeding enclosure may also be necessary if you are housing more than one snake in a habitat (not recommended) or if you use a substrate that can be ingested. Others feel it is unwise to move the snake to a strange environment, expect it to perform a natural behavior immediately, and then expect it not to throw up when it is handled for the purpose of placing it back in its main home. I have always fed in the enclosure.

A nice addition to ensure perfect health for your diurnal snake would be a UV lamp. This is not strictly necessary if you are able to handle your snake in a sunlit area for 30 minutes per day. Some keepers do without these, as they feel that all necessary D vitamins are obtained from prey items, unlike insectivorous lizards. This addition will depend very much on the keeper’s lifestyle, but if in doubt it might be good to add one to the top of the vivarium, using a guard so that it can’t come into contact with the screen.

Feeder Mice and Rats

What will you be feeding your Rat? Depends on how old he/she is. A very young snake can only manage pinkies for quite a few months. After that they will graduate to fuzzies, and then hoppers. Well for the love of Mike, what do all of those terms mean? The terms mentioned above refer to feeder mice, rats have their own designations.

Concerning mice…

  • Pinky: A pinky is a newborn mouse. Ranging from one to three grams in weight, depending on where you purchase them. They have no fur and are high in protein.
  • Fuzzy: A fuzzy is a slightly older baby mouse, with the beginnings of fur. They are slightly bigger in size and weigh around 3-5g.
  • Hopper: The next age stage. These are around 5-9g in weight and are fully formed, but not fully grown.

Concerning rats…

  • The rat equivalent of a pinky would be a ‘rat pup’. These are slightly bigger in size, around 5g.
  • The rat equivalent of a fuzzy is called a ‘fluff’. And around 10-25g in weight, so quite a substantial difference.
  • The rat equivalent of a hopper would be ‘weaner’ rat, at around 25-50g.

Adult mice and rats are only suitable for snakes over 4 feet long.

What size prey?

The size of the prey you choose will depend on whether or not the snake can both swallow and digest it. When in doubt, consider the width of the diner. That is, prey should be no wider than the widest part of the snake's body. Choosing prey that is too large, if it is actually swallowed, can result in regurgitation at the very least (if you’re lucky), with injuries, seizures, partial paralysis, gut impactions, and death being unpleasant possibilities as well.

(Video) The Ultimate Snake Care Guide | How To Care For Your Pet Snake From Hatchling To Adult

Only Rodents?

Should you feed only rodents? Not necessarily. Everyone enjoys a change of pace and an older snake can be offered day old chicks now and then. Does the prey have to be alive? Some keepers believe that the live prey offers the ability for the snake to perform natural behaviors. Others claim that this is nonsense and that a rich environment and positive interaction with a human handler should provide sufficient stimulation. The advantages of pre-killed, frozen dinners over live chow are:

  • Live prey can be too active for young snakes.
  • Sometimes dinner bites back. Attacks by live prey can permanently disfigure your snake. Injuries caused by live prey can include lacerations to the snake's mouth area and eyes. Cutting through his/her tongue sheath is not uncommon.
  • Attacks by live prey can traumatize your snake, and it can be very difficult to get that snake to feed on that prey item again.

Pre-killed offerings can last in the freezer for up to six months. Remember to thaw it completely in the refrigerator and warm it to slightly above room temperature before feeding it to your snake. Do not use a microwave for this. Sense of smell is very keen in these snakes. Make sure the prey is warmer than room temperature; it will smell more appetizing to your snake that way. You can also pith (pierce) the braincase of the prey with a pin or nail to release even more enticing odors (yum).

If you feel that you must feed live prey, be sure to provide food for the prey animal if it is not consumed immediately. Watch it closely for any signs that it may be biting or gnawing on the snake. If this happens, remove it immediately and take your snake to the veterinarian.

The act of brumation was mentioned above. If choosing to brumate your snake for breeding purposes, your snake must be ‘cleaned’ first. This is nothing more than withholding food for 2-3 weeks as you lower the temperature in the snake’s habitat.

Cleaning Schedule

Cleaning the habitat is fairly easy and should be done once a month. Spot cleaning should be done daily, but even then a monthly treatment is still recommended. Remove and dispose of all bedding. Place dish washer safe furniture in the dishwasher or a bleach bath. Remove everything, and spritz with bleach. If the terrarium is glass, spray sides with vinegar and wipe down for better visibility. Do not use bleach stronger than a 10% solution and do not place your snake back inside without wiping down all damp areas after soaking for ½ hour. Wait another ½ hour, replace furniture and bedding and only then place your snake back in.

Health Concerns and Illnesses

Proper feeding and sanitation can help to prevent most common illnesses in Rats. For example, blister disease is associated with damp, filthy environments, and effects the bottom most scales, the scutes, that are in constant contact with the filth. The scutes develop a reddish appearance and if untreated they become swollen and infected by bacteria and fungi. The habitat must receive a comprehensive cleaning immediately and the snake must see a vet, who will probably administer an injectable antibiotic, followed by a course of topical treatments administered twice daily (by the owner).

Rat snakes can suffer from Snake Fungal Disease, an increasingly virulent disorder found in the eastern US, and spreading rapidly. This disease, Ophidiomyces ophidiicola, attacks the mouth and face area of several species of snakes, thereby preventing them from eating and drinking. Owners of wild caught snakes, or large collections, should be aware of any signs of scabs and crusty scales on their pets. The snake’s face may become swollen and the eyes may become cloudy even though the snake is not shedding. Some species don’t show any outward signs of the fungus, but when they are necropsied, the fungus is found in the lungs.

Treatment with certain antifungal therapies have proven to be somewhat effective, but there are no guarantees yet with this disease that any treatment will be 100% effective, and mortality tends to be high. Prevention is definitely the best course of action. Fungal diseases like SFD and Chytrid (affecting amphibians) are particularly dangerous because they can infect a variety of species and can survive in the environment outside of a host. Animals even remotely suspected of harboring SFD need to be immediately quarantined from any other specimens or reptile pets and taken to a vet for treatment without delay.

(Video) All of the BEST Beginner Snakes (No, Not Ball Pythons)

Careful selection of pets from a disease free, reputable breeder, and supplied with an excellent diet and clean surroundings will help you to enjoy the company of your rat snake for many years.

Happy Herping!


What time of day are black rat snakes most active? ›

Hutchison (1956) found one in the mouth of a cave. Eastern Ratsnakes are diurnal and nocturnal. They are often active just after sunset.

What is the best substrate for rat snakes? ›

Newspapers are an inexpensive and popular substrate material. A piece of reptile carpet also can be used. Plus, pine bark chips or aspen shavings are other materials that work well, and they can be scooped out when soiled (much like cat litter in a litter box).

Are black rat snakes good to have around? ›

Black rat snakes are extremely beneficial since they eat large amounts of rats, mice, and other pest animals. Farmers appreciate having snakes around for this reason.

Is a black snake good to have around your house? ›

Wherever there are food and dark shelter, you may find them. Benefits: Eat large quantities of rodents. If you can get over your fears, they're good to have around your garage or barn to keep mice away.

How often do black rat snakes eat? ›

Western rat snakes only eat prey on a monthly basis; juvenile rat snakes eat once per week. They are unlikely to eat more than one animal at a time, given how long it takes snakes to digest their meals. Western rat snakes, like many other snakes, also don't eat before or during their shedding or molting process.

How do you take care of a black rat snake? ›

A Black Rat Snake can be kept in an enclosure with an ambient temperature of around 80F. Their hot spot should be kept at around 85-88F. The ambient temperature can drop to around 75F at night. These snakes don't like it excessively hot so it is important that your heat source is connected to a good thermostat.

What do snakes like in their cage? ›

They need a range of temperatures to regulate their internal body temperature. Ideally, the cage should be set up so that a heat gradient is established, with one area of the tank warmer than the other end. In this way, the snake can move around its environment and warm or cool itself as needed.

How often should you feed a rat snake? ›

Rat snakes shift from eating lizards and frogs while young to eating birds and rodents as they mature. Adult rat snakes should be fed larger items, less frequently than young snakes. A schedule of one meal every seven to ten days will keep your adult rat snake healthy.

How often should a rat snake be fed? ›

Smaller or younger snakes usually eat twice each week, while larger, more mature snakes typically eat once every week or two. Female snakes approaching breeding season can be fed more frequently.

Can black rat snakes hurt you? ›

Black rat snakes are one of the longest snakes in North America. While the most common black snakes or Western rat snakes are not venomous, all black snakes can bite in self-defense or if stepped on. The black snake's bite may not be fatal, but it can still hurt a lot.

Should I leave a black snake in my yard? ›

North America is home to over 50 snake species, many venomous, so spotting one on your property can cause concern. However, the black rat snake thankfully does more good than harm. It acts as a natural means of pest control, and with a timid and non-aggressive nature, this sizable snake poses little threat.

Can a rat snake hurt you? ›

Like nearly all colubrids, rat snakes pose no threat to humans. Rat snakes were long believed to be completely nonvenomous, but recent studies have shown that some Old World species do possess small amounts of venom, though the amount is negligible relative to humans.

Is it good to have a rat snake in your yard? ›

Both racers and rat snakes are beneficial to humans. They eat large amounts mice, rats, and other rodents. Both are non-venomous and will only bite if they feel threatened. They are helpful snakes to have in a field, farm, or even a backyard.

Do rat snake bites hurt? ›

Most common rat snakes can bite in self-defense, especially if provoked. Although the bite of a rat snake isn't fatal, it can be rather painful. Bites from rat snakes are also full of bacteria that can infect you. Even though they do not contain venom, these snakes can grow quite large.

Can snakes connect with their owners? ›

Snakes are able to recognise and distinguish between humans and may recognise the scent of their owner as familiar or positive with time. However, snakes are unable to view humans as companions so cannot form a bond with their owner like other pets can.

What can I feed a black rat snake? ›

Feeding. Black rat snakes mostly eat small rodents, such as mice, rats, moles and chipmunks. They are also known to feed on small lizards, frogs and bird eggs. They kill their prey by constriction, which means the snake coils its body around the prey and holds on until the prey suffocates to death.

How often do black snakes drink water? ›

The snakes do not drink water on regular basis and the snake found in the harsh climate like desert where getting water is hard, they may live their lives without taking even one drink.

Do black snakes feed at night? ›

Racers hunt by sight and are often observed actively foraging during the day. They are not active at night. They eat a wide variety of prey including insects, lizards, snakes, birds, rodents, and amphibians.

Are rat snake hard to take care of? ›

Rat snakes are one of the easiest snakes to care for as pets. They have docile temperaments, and typically don't grow longer than 5 feet. They are great eaters, and don't require extreme humidity or temperatures. Choose a plastic or glass enclosure around the same length as your snake.

Are rat snakes good for beginners? ›

The rat snake is one of the most popular types of pet snake in America. They are great for beginners due to their docile personality and simple care needs.

How long can a black rat snake go without eating? ›

Snakes are amazing creatures. They slither, eat their prey whole, hang out in trees, bask in warm light, have fangs, and can go without eating for a very long time! A typical snake can go for around two months without any food before it starts using its own fat reserves as energy.

Where do snakes like to be touched? ›

Some snakes seem to enjoy a light massage down the length of their body, a head stroke, belly rub, or even a chin scratch, while others do not. Every snake has a different personality and may enjoy something different but being gentle and respecting your snake's boundaries are important.

What do snakes like to play with? ›

Snakes don't enjoy many toys, but they do like having a long object, like a stick or branch, to wrap themselves around. If your snake seems uncomfortable or strikes out at you during playtime, give it some space or put it back into its cage.

Can I play with my snake everyday? ›

Depending on the type of snake, you can handle your snake anywhere from once per week to every day. Snakes that are skittish should be handled less frequently to get them used to it gently. Tame snakes can be handled daily as long as they haven't just eaten, are shedding, or show stress signs.

What time of day is best to feed a snake? ›

Ball pythons are happy to eat frozen-thawed prey, but snakes that have previously eaten live prey may take some time to adjust to dead prey. Ball pythons are nocturnal, so the best time for feeding is in the evening or just after you have turned out the lights.

Do rat snakes drink water? ›

To start, snakes do indeed drink water. Now, how they drink water is totally different than how humans and other animals drink water. That said, snakes need to hydrate like most other dry land animals on this planet.

How long should you wait to hold your snake after feeding it? ›

As a rule of thumb, wait 24 to 72 hours after your snake has fed before holding him. However, if your snake still exhibits a large food bulge after three days -- or if it has gotten bigger since the initial ingestion -- refrain from handling him. Give him 48 more hours and re-evaluate his status.

How long can a rat snake live without food and water? ›

Snakes can generally last around two months without food, however, wild snakes can go without fresh water for months or even weeks. Snakes in captivity shouldn't be restricted water intake for longer than a week.

Should you feed your snake in its cage? ›

However feeding in the enclosure is not something that should ever be encouraged. You will have a much milder tempered and more predictable snake if you pick a feeding container and stick with it so that your snake only expects food when it is in that particular place.

Do black rat snakes have teeth? ›

Black rat snakes have many small teeth and no long fangs. Copperhead bites leave one or two holes in the skin and a rat snake bite appears as small scratches in the shape of a horseshoe.

Do black rat snakes smell? ›

Rat snakes emit a foul-smelling odor when they feel threatened by a predator. This musk imitates what a poison would taste like. The typical breeding season for this snake is from May to late June.

Do rat snakes have teeth? ›

In contrast, rat snakes are not venomous and do not have fangs. Instead, they have lots of very small teeth, so any bite from a rat snake looks more like small scratches.

How long should I leave my snake alone after bringing it home? ›

Leave your new pet snake alone for at least seven days since the transport to its new home is very stressful. After that, feed your snake its first meal. To ensure that your snake doesn't regurgitate its meal due to stress, wait for another two days before you finally handle your new snake.

How long can you leave snakes alone? ›

Most adult snakes are fine to be left on their own for 1 - 2 weeks with the proper preparations in place. This is due to their slow metabolism.

What do black snakes hate? ›

Garlic & Onions: The sulfonic acid in garlic and onions (the same chemical that makes us cry when we chop onions) repels snakes. Mix these with rock salt and sprinkle them around your home and yard for effectiveness.

Can snakes feel love? ›

Snakes don't have the intellectual capacity to feel human emotions like love or affection. So no, they can't feel affection for you. They can, however, feel an affinity for you as a non-threatening creature that cares for it.

Are rat snakes friendly? ›

Rat snakes are non-venomous, usually non-aggressive and their docile demeanor come in handy when teaching kids that not all snakes are scary. "They're just a great animal," said Amidon.

How do you pick up a rat snake? ›

They are harmless, but it is best to stay calm and try to avoid making them feel threatened. You may wish to don gloves or use a broom to “shoo” them into a container, though just picking them up is usually the simplest option.

Can I let my snake roam outside? ›

It's a bad idea to let your snake roam freely. Snakes are expert explorers and will easily escape into their surrounding environment. Not only can this result in your snake's death from temperature variations, but it can also result in breaking laws regarding releasing exotic species into the wild.

What does it mean if a black snake is in your yard? ›

Black snakes are omens of good fortune. Like most good fortune, they are inconspicuous and rare. So, when a specimen presents itself, it behooves one to take notice.

What happens if a black snake bites you? ›

Rhabdomyolysis: Black Snake venom is strongly myolytic and may lead to rhabdomyolysis. If not treated adequately, a bite victim may develop massive myoglobinuria which may subsequently result in oliguria or acute renal failure. If severe, the patient may require dialysis.

Can rat snake swim? ›

Rat snakes also expand their niche into the water. Many species are great swimmers and will hunt fish, frogs, and tadpoles in bodies of fresh water. They also are often found basking near the edge of the water while they wait for prey. Fun Fact: Along with climbing and slithering, rat snakes are efficient swimmers.

Do rat snakes chase you? ›

It will not chase you, and if you are a few feet away, it will not be able to strike you. Most snakes, whether venomous or harmless, will retreat to a hiding place if a person is around. None of the venomous snakes are likely to be abundant but people should be cautious around debris where one has been sighted.

What do rat snakes smell like? ›

Snakes don't really have an odor and don't really make sounds so it would be impossible to smell them or hear them. There is a myth out there that snakes smell like cucumbers but unfortunately they don't smell that good,” Sollenberger said.

Do snakes like being rubbed? ›

Snakes won't be receptive to your affection—they're wary animals who don't like being held, touched, petted, or passed around. It's stressful for them and puts them at risk of illness and injury, and because they don't whine or yelp, you may not realize that they're hurt.

Do snakes know their name? ›

Although they won't recognize their name, as such, they may be able to differentiate between your voice and the voices of others. They may also be able to recognize different sounds and associate these sounds with different outcomes.

What is the best time of day to avoid snakes? ›

Snakes like to warm their bodies in the sunshine. Hiking in the evening or early in the morning helps you avoid their favorite part of the day.

What time of day do rat snakes hunt? ›

They are also excellent climbers, capable of climbing trees easily to catch their prey. This snake kills its prey by wrapping its body around it and constricting, or suffocating, it. Black rat snakes hunt during the day during spring and fall but hunt at night in the summer to avoid the strong heat of the sun.

What time of day are you most likely to see snakes? ›

Snakes are at their most active when it's cool out. They move around most in the early morning and around dusk. Snakes hunt in tall grass, weeds, and other sources of vegetation. Around your home, they'll seek out shady or dark places where they can rest and cool down.

What time of day are snakes least active? ›

When the average daytime temperatures are around 80 degrees Farenheit, snakes limit their activity to the early morning and late evenings, typically dawn and dusk. This allows them to soak up heat before and after a cold night and avoid the scorching mid-day heat.

What temperature do snakes hate? ›

Typically, snakes become less active when temperatures dip below 60 degrees.

What are snakes afraid of? ›

Cats, foxes, raccoons, turkeys, pigs, and guinea hens are natural predators of snakes. Having these animals on or around your property is an effective natural way to keep snakes at bay. You can also purchase store-bought fox urine to use as a natural snake repellent.

What weather do snakes hate? ›

Snake activity picks up as the temperatures start to fall in late summer and early fall. Snakes cannot thrive when temperatures drop below 65 degrees Fahrenheit. With the weather still ideal and an abundance of rain from late summer storms and hurricanes, fall is prime time for snakes to be active.

How big can black rat snakes get? ›

The black rat snake grows to three to six feet in length. It has a black, scaly body and a white belly and chin. Young black rat snakes, called hatchlings, are light gray with black blotches along the back.

How often do rat snakes feed? ›

Rat snakes shift from eating lizards and frogs while young to eating birds and rodents as they mature. Adult rat snakes should be fed larger items, less frequently than young snakes. A schedule of one meal every seven to ten days will keep your adult rat snake healthy.

What smell do snakes hate? ›

What scents do snakes dislike? There are many scents snakes don't like including smoke, cinnamon, cloves, onions, garlic, and lime. You can use oils or sprays containing these fragrances or grow plants featuring these scents.

How cold is too cold for snakes? ›

The coldest temperature a snake will survive in is 65° degrees Fahrenheit (18°C). Anything lower, and there is a good chance the snake will not survive. Read on to learn how snakes adapt to the cold.

What month are snakes most active? ›

Snake activity picks up as temperatures fall in late summer and early autumn before they go into hibernation, which can be as early as September or as late as December.

What smells are snakes attracted to? ›

Snakes are carnivorous in diet. Some feed on insects; some on fish; and, most feed on rodents and other mammals. In order to present a "food lure", an odor of insects, fish, or rodents would have to be present.

Do snakes like warm or cold? ›

Chances are, you aren't a fan of being outside when it's around 90°F +. This goes for most other animals as well, including snakes. For snakes, their activity happens most prominently between temperatures of 68 and 80 degrees for the most part.

Do snakes need light during the day? ›

They benefit from a day and night cycle, which means they need light during the day and darkness during the night. If the light stays on during the night, the snake could become stressed, lethargic, and may stop eating.


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