• Length: 47-72 inches
• Peak Breeding Activity: April-June
• Incubation: 65-70 days
• Clutch Size: 12-20 eggs
• Typical Foods: mice and rats, chipmunks, moles, and other small rodents
Although it is typically four to six feet long, individuals have been known that were more than eight feet long. It is completely black except for a white chin. The body is slender and the head is wedge-shaped.
Habitat and Habits
An essentially forest-loving snake, the gray rat occurs throughout most of Ohio. It is an accomplished climber and is often found high in trees, frequently taking shelter in woodpecker holes and other cavities.
When first encountered, most gray rats freeze in position, blending in with their surroundings. They remain motionless until grasped. Although some offer little or no resistance when first captured, many will vibrate their tail rapidly and strike repeatedly. When picked up, they usually coil tightly about the arm and discharge a foul-smelling substance from the anal scent glands.
Reproduction and Care of the Young
Soon after winter hibernation, snakes will begin the mating process. The female will then lay her eggs in a hidden area, such as under hollow logs or leaves, or in abandoned burrows.