Gray Ratsnake (Pantherophis spiloides)
The dorsal color of Gray Ratsnakes can be black, gray or brownish-black; many individuals are patterned with yellowish-brownish blotches. Their belly is often white with small dark spots. Hatchlings and juveniles are light gray with dark gray blotches. Gray Ratsnakes range from slender to stocky body shape, scales are weakly keeled, and the anal plate is divided.
Gray Ratsnakes are the largest snake species found in Kentucky with large adults often exceeding 6 feet in total length.
Gray Ratsnakes are found throughout Kentucky. These snakes use a wide variety of habitat types including forest edges, agricultural land, and suburban parks and backyards.
Gray Ratsnakes are constrictors. Small mammals, such as mice and chipmunks, birds and bird eggs are preferred by adults whereas juvenile Ratsnakes are known to consume amphibians, small reptiles and baby rodents. Ratsnakes are excellent climbers and can often be found high in trees (probably looking for bird nests) and sometimes in houses (especially attics and chimneys). Ratsnakes are egg layers.
Gray Ratsnakes are nonvenomous and likely play important ecological roles as predators, potentially controlling rodent populations. Because of their preference for eggs and birds, Ratsnakes will not hesitate to consume chicken/duck eggs and chicks.