Located west of the Mississippi River, from Eastern and Southward through Missouri and Arkansas to Western Louisiana. They are found across the Eastern half of Texas.
Western ratsnakes live in a variety of habitats. They inhabit areas ranging from rocky hillsides to flat farmlands. They can be found taking shelter in brush piles, hollow trees, farm buildings and old houses with plenty rats and mice. They are constrictors, excellent climbers and very competent swimmers. They often consume rats, mice, lizards, frogs, squirrels, chipmunks, song birds, bird eggs, etc. Mating takes place in late May and early June. After 5 weeks, the female lays about 12-20 eggs. The eggs hatch about 65-70 days later in late August to early October in rotten stumps or logs, sawdust piles or under rocks.
This specie tends to become quite large, they are said to be the largest snakes in Canada. They can attain a total length (head to tail) of 3ft 6in - 6ft. They have been said to have attained a length of 8ft 5in making them the longest snakes in North America. Their body mass can range up to 0.5 - 2.2kg. Darkening occurs rapidly as they grow. Adults are glossy black above with white lips, chin, and throat. The skin between the scales along the sides may be red. The belly is white, blotched with gray or black. A black band passes between the eyes and angles down towards the mouth.
Learn more with Schechter Natural History's Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians