Florida's Snakes thumbnail photo of snake identification guide cover

Gray Ratsnake
(Pantherophis spiloides [formerly considered
a subspecies of Elaphe obsoletus])


blotch icon

Gray Ratsnake (color variations)

photo of gray ratsnake with pale gray body and faint darker gray blotches

photo of gray ratsnake with light brown body and dark, gray-brown blotches

 Photos by Dr. Steve A. Johnson (UF, upper photo) and Patrick Lynch (SFWMD, lower photo). These photos may not be used without the express written permission of the photographer


Usually 3–6 ft. (max. 7 ft.)


Body is gray or light brown (occasionally silver-gray or dark brown); back is marked with irregular dark gray or brown blotches. Dark bands run from each eye to the corners of the jaw, and a dark bar may run across the forehead between the eyes. Juveniles look similar to adults (and to other juvenile ratsnakes). Scales have faint lengthwise ridges (keels). This snake lays eggs.


Found only in the panhandle and northwestern peninsula of Florida in a wide variety of habitats, including pine and hardwood forests, cypress swamps, tree-lined river edges, agricultural areas, and barns and abandoned buildings.


Lizards, frogs, birds (and their eggs), shrews, moles, mice, rats, squirrels, rabbits

map showing that gray ratsnakes are found only in the panhandle and northwestern peninsula of Florida

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

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