Great Plains Ratsnake in exhibit

Great Plains Ratsnake

Scientific Name

Pantherophis emoryi

Class

Reptilia

Order

Squamata

Range

Central North America

Habitat

Shrublands, forests, rocky areas, and grasslands

Estimated Wild Population

n/a
Great Plains rattlesnake in exhibit
IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Least Concern IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Least Concern

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Physical Description

Great Plains ratsnakes grow up to five feet long, are either light gray or brownish-gray, and are covered in dark brown blotches bordered with black. A dark brown stripe starts at the bridge of their nose and travels down their neck, crossing overtop their eyelids like a mask. These snakes sport a spearhead-shaped marking on their head, and their belly is white with bold, squarish black markings.

Interesting Fact 1

As a defense mechanism, Great Plains ratsnakes rapidly vibrate their tail in leaf litter to produce a sound very similar to the telltale sound created by rattlesnakes.

Interesting Fact 2

Their diet mostly consists of rodents; however, they will occasionally eat birds, lizards, amphibians, and even other snakes.

Interesting Fact 3

They are primarily nocturnal and oviparous, laying clutches of as many as 25 eggs in the late spring.

Animal Care staff working with seal

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Asian small-clawed otter in exhibit

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