The Grey Rat Snake (Pantherophis spiloides)

grey rat snake

The Grey Rat Snake (Pantherophis spiloides), also known as the chicken snake or midlands rat snake, is a member of the subfamily Colubrinae of the family Colubridae. This snake is a species of non-venomous snake typically found in the forests of eastern as well as the central United States. It is one of about 10 species within the Pantherophis genus of American rat snakes.

The Grey Rat Snake is mostly diurnal in nature, however, could become more nocturnal during the warmer months. They typically inhabit forests, marshes, scrublands and also areas between the fields. It can be also discovered near the farms and in the urban areas as well as backyards.

This Grey Rat Snake is a medium to large size, growing to approximately 99-183 cm (3-6 ft) in standard length, however, the record is 215 cm (7 ft). Males grow longer and faster compared to females. The Grey Rat Snake are smaller than black and yellow rat snake. They can be fairly aggressive as well as must be handled with caution. These species are carnivore that might live for about 12-17 years, with a record of 25 years for a captive specimen.

The Grey Rat Snake is a blotched snake and also diverse color varieties make it an interesting addition to our native snakes, as well as a great candidate to be kept as a pet. Their dorsal color can be dark gray or brownish-black, many individuals are patterned with yellowish-brownish blotches. They tend to be darker in color at the northern end of their range, becoming lighter as they move south.

The Grey Rat Snake belly is typically white with small dark spots, as well as the throat is a uniform cream or white. Hatchlings and juveniles are light grays with dark gray blotches. They range from slender to stocky body shape, scales are weakly keeled, as well as the anal plate is divided. They are a very hearty snake and also typically adapt well to captivity as well as regular handling. This species, like other rat snakes, stops and remains motionless with its body held in a series of wave-like kinks.

The Grey Rat Snake will defend itself by raising its head as well as bluffing a strike. If handled, the snake will musk a victim by releasing the foul-smelling contents of their cloaca and will bite if needed. However, this species is less likely to bite compared to other members of its genus, and also harm from a bite rarely.

 

Diet Of The Grey Rat Snake

Diet Of The Grey Rat Snake

The Grey Rat Snake are excellent climbers and could typically be discovered high in trees, probably searching for bird nests. In the wild, these snakes have been known to wipe out rodent populations as well as bird nests, eating the young that have not hatched.

The Grey Rat Snake are carnivorous animals that survive on a diet purely made up of meat. They are typically a voracious feeder and are powerful constrictors feed primarily on tiny mammals, such as rodents and also birds are preferred by adults. Eggs will also be taken regularly, while neonates, as well as juveniles, prefer a diet of frogs and lizards.

 

Reproduction Of The Grey Rat Snake

Reproduction Of The Grey Rat Snake

The Grey Rat Snake is fairly easy to breed in captivity, very similar to corn snakes. They reach sexual maturity at about 2 years of age. Like many other snakes species, are egg layers. Females typically only reproduce every 2 or 3 years.

The Grey Rat Snake breeding season occurs from April to July, with the typically female lay their clutch varying from 8 to 25 eggs around mid-summer, as well as the 10-14 inch (25-36 cm), with the young hatchlings, typically emerge in September. Some snakes in the southern states could reproduce during the winter, with corresponding laying times.

 

How to Aquarium Care for Grey Rat Snake?

How to Aquarium Care for Grey Rat Snake

The Grey Rat Snake require at least a 50-gallon terrarium or snake tub to survive. Since they could grow fairly long in captivity (over 5 feet), while baby snakes will be fine in 10-gallon tank and could be housed in shoe box sized enclosures, increasing the size of the enclosure as the snake grows. With adult snakes, larger is always better.

The Grey Rat Snake tend to be active and aim for providing your snake 6 square feet of space and if you plan on housing multiple snakes in the same tank, you will require more room. You could also provide sturdy branches or logs for your snakes to climb on.

The essential parts are a secure enclosure with a large water bowl as well as a place to hide. Maintain high humidity and the proper temperature is essential. If you decide to use a glass cage or aquarium, be sure to cover the top to limit dissipation of humid air and loss of heat. The Grey Rat Snake do well with a variety of substrates such as newspaper or non-toxic shavings can also be used.

The Grey Rat Snake prefer temperatures between about 72 °F (22 °C) and 82 °F (28 °C). The ideal humidity range would be between 30 and 70%, however, moments above and below this range are acceptable for brief periods of time. Just ensure there is a dry spot for the snake, and ensure the cage does not get wet enough to enable the growth of mold.

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