Yellow Rat Snake

Yellow Rat Snake

06.21.2005 - This is a photo of a Yellow Rat Snake, Elaphe obsoleta quadrivittata. This is one of the top eight most common snakes that I catch in the state of Florida. This snake ranges across the southeast, and the whole state of FL. It's one of the larger snakes in the state, and can reach a length of 6 feet, although it is quite thin. It's got a mustard-yellow body, sometimes dark yellow or tan, with four dark brown stripes along the length of the body. It mates in May, lays eggs in June, which hatch in August. The baby snakes look nothing like the adults - they are black and grey with banded markings, almost like the bark of a gray tree. I once removed several such juvenile snakes from inside a home, where an adult must have laid some eggs. A total of 18 baby snakes were removed from the home over the course of a month. The small snakes eat insects and such, but the adults prefer to eat rats.

This snake is an excellent climber. I've found very few snakes in attics, but they've almost always been of this species, which probably went up into the house in search of rats that it smelled inside. This snake is not venomous, and is totally harmless and docile when handled.  If you see it, be thankful that you have such a beneficial snake on your property!  As usual, if you can't stand to have snakes around and you have one that you want removed, I will come and get it, but you can be certain that I'll relocate this harmless and beneficial snake to a safe and suitable habitat.

Do it yourself: Visit my How To Get Rid of Snakes page for tips and advice.
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How to get rid of a yellow rat snake - Snakes, no matter what species, are relatively easy to trap and remove from a yard. Yellow rat snakes are a common species found in the southern United States. They are non-venomous, and feed primarily on rodents and birds. Rat snakes are good climbers, and are often found raiding nests in trees. Like any snake, the ideal way to keep these creatures away from your home and property is to keep your grass trimmed short and your vegetation minimal. Even if you have lush gardens, snakes will be reluctant to travel across an exposed, short lawn to get to them. If you are having an issue with yellow rat snakes in around your property, the most effective method, aside from property management, is trapping. Snake traps with a glue base as a fantastic way to catch snakes alive and later release them. The glue trap will lure a snake inside with scent attractants. Once the animal is firmly held in place, you can relocate it to a safe area. Using cooking oil spray, apply the oil to the snake and it will eventually work itself free of the glue. Snake traps can be reused and are easily cleaned with water. But really, this is a good snake to have around, so I don't recommend removing a Yellow Rat Snake in Florida from your property.

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