Facts, Identification & Control
The Trans-Pecos rat snake is a non-venomous snake only found in a limited geographic range – southwestern Texas, southern Arizona and northern Mexico. A favorite pet among snake enthusiasts, this gentle giant is easily raised in captivity and is known for its vivid markings. The Trans-Pecos rat snake’s softly keeled scales are light yellow to light olive with “H”-shaped markings that, on some snakes, appear as dark brown to black stripes. The adult male Trans-Pecos rat snake can reach a length of greater than five feet, while the female may only reach 3 ½ to 4 ½ feet in length.
Behavior, Diet & Habits
The snake, known for its gentle nature, is rarely seen in its natural habitat. Making its home in areas composed of dry, rocky terrain, the Trans-Pecos rat snake is primarily nocturnal. The snake seeks shelter in cracks and crevices during the heat of the day, and emerges at night in search of food. Tran-Pecos rat snakes eat small vertebrates, including reptiles, mammals and birds, and kill their prey through constriction.
During the spring and early summer months, the snakes leave their hiding spots in search of mates. After mating, the females lay three to 11 eggs that incubate for approximately three months. Once hatched, the young snakes, already almost a foot in length, may remain underground and emerge after the cooler winter months have passed.