Texas Ratsnake

Elaphe obsoleta lindheimeri

Texas Rat Snake
Texas Ratsnake from Bryan, Brazos County, Texas
This is a rather typical colored specimen for the Brazos Valley.  They are generally light snakes with dark blotches with some white and orange edges to some of the body scales.  Some Brazos County specimens are quite colorful. 
The dark gray top of the head and white chin and throat are also characteristic.

A Texas Ratsnake from Brazoria County, Texas

The Texas Ratsnake is the most common large snake in our area.  They frequently exceed 5 feet in length.  Although they can be found on the ground, they climb well and frequently climb trees.

Although typically a snake of wooded areas, they are often found in residential areas where they eat rodents and birds.  Although they are somewhat defensive when approached, they are harmless.  They will not hesitate to bite when threatened or grasped.

juvenile Texas Rat Snake
a juvenile Texas Rat Snake from Colorado County, Texas

When young, the Texas Ratsnake displays this distinctive "robber's mask" across its eyes and head.  This black band across the face fades as the snake ages and its head becomes darker.  This shot also demonstrates the feisty temperament often seen in this species.

A subadult Texas Ratsnake from Grimes County, TX.
This subadult will become darker as it ages.

Most adults in our area have a solid dark gray/black top of the head.

Often when approached, Texas Ratsnakes will often kink up their bodies and remain motionless, as seen in this Brazos County subadult specimen.  They will freeze in this position and wait for the intruder to move on.  Some people hypothesize that this is an attempt to look like an oak branch or similar stick in hope that the intruder will not notice the snake.  If further disturbed however, they won't hesitate to defend themselves!

Texas Rat Snake

Texas Rat Snake from Freestone County, Texas
This specimen is quite a bit darker than average for our area.