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Biodiversity Blog


The Daily Species: Western Ratsnake (Pantherophis obsoletus)

The Western Ratsnake (Pantherophis obsoletus) is a non-venomous species commonly found across the eastern half of Texas. This species can be highly arboreal and is adaptable to a wide range of habitats.  Because of this versatility, they feed on a variety of prey (small mammals, birds, reptiles) that they kill by constriction. Ratsnakes are sometimes called “chicken snakes” because they will eat bird eggs as well, and can be found around chicken coops. This snake can be quite defensive when cornered by a predator, striking or opening its mouth as well as vibrating its tail (a common trait for many non-venomous and venomous species in Texas).

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