Florida's Snakes thumbnail photo of snake identification guide cover

Eastern, Yellow, or Everglades Ratsnake
(Pantherophis alleghaniensis [formerly considered a subspecies of Elaphe obsoletus])


blotch icon
Blotched  juvenile

stripes icon
Striped adult

Eastern Ratsnake - blotched juvenile (upper image)
and striped adult (lower image)

Photo of juvenile Eastern Ratsnake with grayish body with darker gray blotches

photo of adult eastern ratsnake showing yellowish color with dark stripes; blotches are still faintly visible between stripes on this individual

 Photos by Kenney Krysko (FLMNH, upper photo) and Dirk Stevenson (lower photo). These photos may not be used without the express written permission of the photographer


Usually 3.5–5.5 ft. (max ~7.5 ft.); juveniles usually blotched until they reach 2–3 ft.


Young Eastern Ratsnakes have obvious blotches that gradually fade into stripes by adulthood. Body of juveniles is light to dark gray. Back is marked with irregular, gray-black blotches that fade with age; older juveniles may have both blotches and stripes. Body of adults is yellow or yellowish-gray; back is marked with four dark stripes (occasionally also with blotches). In southern Florida and the Keys, body may be orange-brown and the stripes faint or absent. Scales have faint lengthwise ridges (keels). This snake lays eggs.


Found in peninsular Florida in a wide variety of forested habitats, including pine and hardwood forests, scrubs, edges of swamps and marshes, mangrove thickets, agricultural areas, barns and abandoned buildings, and suburban neighborhoods. This snake is an excellent climber.


Snails, insects, frogs, lizards, snakes, birds and bird eggs, bats, shrews, moles, mice, squirrels, rabbits

map showing that eastern ratsnakes are found throughout peninsular Florida but not in the panhandle

Map by Monica E. McGarrity - may be used freely for education.

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