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Gray Rat Snake  Elaphe obsoleta spilodes

    This attractively marked phase of the common Black Rat Snake is found from eastern North America to Northeastern Mexico.  The dark Blotches contrast with a background color that may vary from brown through shades of gray almost to white.  There is little difference between the appearance of young and adults.  Their local name of "oak snake" comes from the fact that they are often found in oak tree litter.  They are excellent climbers and this should be reflected in the design of their terrarium.  They readily eat mice in captivity and make good pets.


Yellow Rat Snake  Elaphe obsoleta quadrivittata

    This pretty yellow and brown snake is native to the central and northern parts of Florida extending into Georgia and the Carolinas.  These snakes have been called chicken snakes because of their fondness for eggs however they readily eat mice in captivity.  Hatchlings often eat amphibians which can make they tricky to rear. They are large snakes and can reach 72 inches in length. They are harmless snakes which make good pets.


Texas Rat Snake  Elaphe obsoleta lindheimeri

    This large rat snake occurs in eastern and central Texas as well as through Louisiana and Arkansas.  The body is yellowish gray to brown with a pattern of darker saddles and a tendency for reddish skin to show through between the scales on the sides.  It is often considered more vicious than the other rat snakes although it will settle down in captivity.  This is a bulky snake reaching a length of 90 inches.  It is an excellent climber with a taste for eggs although it readily takes mice in captivity.  There is a naturally occurring  form of the Texas Rat Snake called a Leucistic type.   These beautiful snakes have alabaster white scales and black eyes.  In all other respects they are like the nominate form.


Everglades Rat Snake Elaphe obsoleta  rossalleni

    Several authorities have questioned the validity of this subspecies suggesting that it is merely a more colorful version of the Yellow Rat Snake.  Regardless of its classification, its coloration is appealing and distinctive; bright red or reddish orange with four indistinct darker stripes along the body and a red tongue.  It is bred in captivity and is often available.  It loves to climb and eats mice quickly making it ideal for the snake enthusiast.


Black Rat Snake Elaphe obsoleta

    A beautiful snake with a somewhat nasty disposition characterizes the Black Rat Snake which is found from New England to Georgia and west to the Mississippi River.  This is a large snake which can reach 100 inches in length..  The color can vary from a glossy black to gray however the most distinctive marking are the white to gray belly which is not common in other black snakes. They are good eaters in captivity and readily take mice.  They are hardy and long lived but are not known to make good pets.  Albinos of this species are very attractive with a glossy white color.  They are common in the pet trade and seem to have a better disposition that their darker cousins.



Bairds Rat Snake  Elaphe Bairdi

    This is a somewhat questionable species found only in western Texas south into Mexico.  Adults are brownish snake with a length of 60 inches.  The scales are edged with dull to bright orange and the belly usually colored yellow orange.  This is a species of dry rocky prairies and deserts as well as sparse Central Texas forests.  It seems to be nocturnal and is not easily collected.  It is hardy and well suited to captivity and will ready eat mice when offered.


Radiated Rat Snake  Elaphe radiata

    There could hardly be a more defensive colubrid than wild caught specimens of this pretty Asian Rat Snake.  When even vaguely threatened, this snake pulls its neck back, inflates its throat and defends itself.  Since adults can reach a length of 6 feet, the striking distance is fairly extensive.  They are a fast moving species that behaves more like a racer than a rat snake.  The ground color is buff to yellow green with three dark stripes radiating from the eye back to the tail.  Some wild caught specimens can be difficult feeders at first, however housing them in quiet terraria will help overcome their reluctance to eat.  They have been known to eat baby quail as well as mice and rats.


Honduran Night Snake  Elaphe flavirufa

    This is another of the many rat snakes with no accepted common name.  It has been called the Mexican Corn Snake however the name is not quite accurate since it ranges far south of Mexico.  It is a beautiful and hardy species with a gray ground and lateral markings which vary from strawberry to maroon.  Its most striking characteristic are the eyes which are large with stark white irises reflecting the nocturnal tendencies of this snake.  They have been known to reach 5 ft however 40 inches is more common.  They are snakes of the subtropics and should not be allowed to become too cool during the winter.  Their range of habitat varies from the dry deserts to the warm, humid forests so they should be treated like a tropical snake.  They prefer small meals in captivity and two hoppers would be sufficient for an adult since they are not active snakes in captivity.  This is a rarely seen species and should be bred in captivity if pairs are available.


Taiwan Beauty Snake  Elaphe taeniura

    Several races of this attractive snake were earlier called 'beauty snakes" with a prefix such as Taiwan, Yunnan of Chinese.  In reality, the common names were often muddled as they are now.  Once the origin of the animal becomes obscure, the true identification becomes impossible.  The many races of E. taeniura vary tremendously in appearance however most are heavy bodied strongly blotched snakes with an olive to olive green ground with dark stripes running the length of the body.  these snakes can easily reach six feet in length and easily take mice or small rats.  they seem most content when kept cool (70-76F) with a basking area provided.  They can be bred in captivity and should be if this is possible.  These long and beautiful snakes tame easily and make good pets.


Corn Snake  Elaphe guttata

    The corn snakes are found over a large area of the United Snakes from New Jersey to the Florida Keys and west to Kentucky and Louisiana.  The brightest colored corn snakes seem to occur in the central Atlantic States.  the ground color may vary from orange or gray to brown.  The tern "normal" refers to the coloration of the usual wild caught specimen and this varies geographically.  The basis corn snake is a dull orange with black edged red dorsal blotches.  Today they are bred in great numbers and many colors not found in nature.  Many of these colors are available in the pet trade and are readily available.  As adults, the corn snake thrives on rodents.  Most hatchlings and juveniles do likewise making this an easy snake to feed in captivity.  The snake can reach to 6 feet but the more common length of 4 feet is the norm.  Their gentle disposition make them one of the best snakes for the novice especially children who want to experience pet snakes.  They should be kept dry with water always available and will reproduce easily even for the beginner.


Great Plains Rat Snake  Elaphe emoryi

    This is the western form of the Corn Snake family ranging through the central states into Mexico.  This snake is a pleasing combination of gray on gray and will make a good pet.  It eats well in captivity and reproduces easily.  It is less sought out because of its rather dull coloration however it has been bred into the more colorful corn snake complex and has provided rather beautiful offspring.  Like the Corn Snake, it is a good snake for children and the novice snake keeper because it is so gentle and unassuming.


Desert Kingsnake  Lampropeltis getulus splendida

    The ground color of this variable species ranges from black to brown with speckles of white, cream or yellow.  Hatchlings and juvenile specimens are very brightly colored but some fade as adulthood approaches.  The habitat of this snake includes deserts as well as agricultural areas and the environs of streams, rivers and ponds.  They seem to increase in areas of irrigation.  This is a hardy snake which breeds easily and at a fairly young age.  during early spring and late fall, these snakes are largely diurnal however during the heat of summer they are more likely to be found at night.  They can reach 5 feet however most are not over 4 feet.  this snake ranges from Texas through New Mexico to Arizona and into northern Mexico.  They make good pets and rarely bite , however most king snakes can be temperamental at times especially when they are hungry.  They feed well in captivity and are not particularly active so they do not require large terraria.


Blotched Kingsnake Lampropeltis getulus floridana goini

    Found only in the gulf areas of Florida, the blotched form of this snake is only one form of a very variable Kingsnake.  In fact, this coveted snake of the northern Florida forests displays almost as much variation as the California Kingsnake. These are a dark ground snake with light colored blotches however some specimens  have been found with attractive red markings. This snake is difficult to find in the wild however it breeds rather easily and is therefore available.  It is a large a robust snake that can reach 6 feet in length.  The snakes are good eaters and grow rapidly in captivity.


Durango Mountain Kingsnake Lampropeltis mexicana  greeri

    This is one of the Kingsnake species for which hobbyist usage of no longer existing scientific names continues.  many hobbyists and commercial dealers still refer to Mex-Mex, Durango Mtn. and variable king snakes.  Years ago the Mex-Mex or San Luis Potosi was referred to as Lampropeltis mexicana mexicana, the Durango race was L.m. greeri and the variable was L.m. thayeri.  However is was found that the criteria used to designate and separate these subspecies was not constant.  They did not work for scientists but they still do for hobbyists.  AS long as we realize that we are dealing with popularized designations, confusion should be minimal.  In the Durango Mtn. phase the background color is usually light gray to buff, the nose is gray and black markings occur on the head.  These snakes can reach 3 feet in length.  All of these snakes are found in the mountainous regions of Mexico which are dry and hot during the summer consequently, they spend time hiding in rock outcroppings.  In captivity these snakes tend to hide although they do not bite when disturbed.  They are beautiful specimens which eat well on mice when these are acclimated.  They do not always breed easily, however the hobbyist should attempt to breed the colors and varieties that are related.


Mexican Black Kingsnake Lampropeltis gettula nigrita

    Adults of the Mexican Black Kingsnake are usually jet black both dorsally as well as ventrally while hatchlings and juveniles may be vaguely crossbared.  The adult is about 4 feet in length.  Because of the summer heat in their native desert habitat, they are largely nocturnal.  They are beautiful animals but tend to bite when disturbed so they are best  not handled unless they are tame.  They eat well in captivity and breed easily for the novice.


California Kingsnake  Lampropeltis gettula californicae

    California Kingsnake are some of the most variable of Kingsnake in both ground color and pattern.  the ground color may be black, brown or nearly tan with a pattern of white or cream colored bands, stripes or a combination of both.  The striped form seems to be the most common in the southernmost part of the range.  Hatchlings bearing stripes, bands and combinations have emerged from different eggs in the same clutch for years.  Now, many hobbyists are breeding to these varying forms so many combinations are readily available.  Adults seldom exceed 4 feet in captivity however wild caught specimens have been known to reach 6 feet.  This is a diurnal snake in captivity although in the wild state it is active after dark especially during the hottest months of the year.  They are found in varying habitats ranging from desert lowlands, rolling foothills and forested pine-oak covered mountains.  They easily feed on mice in captivity and are good breeders for the novice.


Gray Banded Kingsnake  Lampropeltis alterna

    The gray banded Kingsnake is considered a prize species by many collectors because of the beautiful color patterns.  The "alterna" phase derives it name from the characteristics of the white edged bands that pattern the snakes" olive to gray body.  This phase may or may not have red or orange present in the center of the complete bands.  It is the "blair's "phase that is the most variable.  Some specimens are very brilliantly colored, their white edged black saddles containing broad areas of bright red or orange while others are quite dark and become more so with age.  These snakes are native to rocky desert canyons in southwestern Texas and New Mexico.  It can also be found in Northern Mexico.  In nature these snakes feed on lizards and hatchlings are dependent on this food source. Eventually, the snake will learn to eat mice but be certain that the baby you are interested in is feeding well. they make good pets however, they are rather difficult to breed.


Florida Kingsnake  Lampropeltis floridana

    This is not a rare snake in the wild however the prize form, the pale  snake once called the Brook's phase is not common.  They are native to the swamps and canals of southern Florida.  It is a snake that reaches 4 feet in length and the males are usually the largest of the sexes.  The hatchlings often red on their sides but this fades to the adult coloration after a few sheds.  They are thick bodied snakes that eat well in captivity.


Variable Kingsnake  Lampropeltis mexicana

    See Durango Mountain Kingsnake for description    


San Luis Potosi Kingsnake  Lampropeltis mexicana

    See Durango Mountain Kingsnake for description


Honduran Milksnake  Lampropeltis triangulum hondurensis

    This is one of the most popular of the tricolored milksnakes.  It is available to two distinctly different color phases, one is the common wide banded form and the other the brightly colored "tangerine" phase.  The most beautiful specimens display wide bands of intense red orange framing narrow black bands.  This snake is widely available since it breeds well in captivity but the bright color phases are still expensive.  In the wild, this snake is found near sea level in most of Nicaragua and Hondurus.  It attains an adult size on 4 feet and feeds well in captivity.


Sinaloan Milksnake  Lampropeltis triangulum sinaloae

    This is one of the most beautiful of the milksnakes because of the intense red and black coloring of the bands which encircle the body.  The adults reach 4 feet and breed easily in captivity.  They readily eat mice and the hatchlings will also feed on newly born mice making them especially easy to feed.  This is a lowland snake found in the state of Sinaloa and southwestern Sonora.


Mexican Milksnake  Lampropeltis triangulum annulata

    This is a pretty milksnake with a black head and with alternating red, black and yellow bands covering the body.  They are essentially a nocturnal snake because of the excessive heat of their habitat in the summer months.  They are found from sea level to the higher mountains through central Mexico.  Adults may reach 3 feet in length and readily eat mice in captivity.  This is a hardy and beautiful snake and makes an excellent pet.


Jalisco Milksnake  Lampropeltis triangulum arcifera

    A subspecies of tropical scrub grasslands and oak woodlands throughout central Mexico.  A beautiful subspecies that is easy to breed and maintain in captivity but is not very commonly available in the pet trade.


Pueblan Milksnake  Lampropeltis triangulum campbelli

    One of the most commonly bred snakes in captivity.  Normally colored forms have broad band of black, pure white and bright red however breeders are developing a very attractive apricot phase.  The term "sock head" has been developed to describe those specimens having the first white band doubled in breadth.  The Pueblan milksnake averages about 32 inched in length and is native to southern Mexico.  It is a robust eater and makes an excellent pet.


Andean Milksnake  Lampropeltis triangulum andesiana

    This is one of the largest forms of the Milksnakes averaging 60 inches in length.  It is native to the Columbian Andes ranging from 700 to 9000 feet in elevation.  The red and white scales on this snake are often tipped with black giving it an overall dull appearance but does not hide the banding.  It is a very hardy snake that eats well in captivity.


New Mexico Milksnake  Lampropeltis triangulum celaenops

    This pretty little snake averages 24 inches in length and is native to the Big Bend area of Texas eastward into New Mexico.  It inhabits juniper woodlands and oak forest.  It's primary diet consists of small lizards so this snake can be difficult to feed in captivity.  Adults can be converted to small mice but hatchlings are a constant problem to feed.  Small skinks and other young lizards are often needed to maintain this snake in captivity.


Central Plains Milksnake  Lampropeltis triangulum gentilis

    This is a small pretty snake native to the central plains of the United States.  It is found in rocky canyons and open grasslands throughout its range but because of its secretive habits it is rarely seen.  Adults are hardy and easily cared for accepting young mice readily but hatchlings are small and must be started on young lizards.  The adult snake can reach 36 inches but 24 is the commonly found length.


Nelson's Milksnake  Lampropeltis triangulum nelsoni

    An attractive snake of tropical scrub and deciduous forests throughout southern Mexico.  It averages 42 inches in length.  It has broad red bands with narrow white bands sandwiched between two narrow black bands.  It is common in captivity and many breeders are working on new color forms including attractive albino phases.


Arizona Mountain Kingsnake  Lampropeltis pyromelana pyromelana

    This beautiful and slender snake is the most widely distributed of the four subspecies of L. pyromelana.  The light rings can vary from white to buff with narrow red rings the may be entire or broken.  Old adults car reach 42 inches in length but most specimens are smaller measuring 28 to 32 inches .  It inhabits northern Mexico into Arizona and is found in wooded mountains  It is a hardy snake that defies description in its beauty.


Chihuahua Mountain Kingsnake  Lampropeltis pyromelana knoblochi

    A small slender subspecies of the Sonoran Mountain Kingsnake.  It is considered by many hobbyists to be the prettiest of the four subspecies and is the only one not found natively in the United States.  Unlike the others, this snake seems to be nocturnal in its habits  The adult size can reach 3 feet however there are some that have been recorded at 42 inches. It is easily bred in captivity but the number of young is small and the demand high so the price remains high.  It is hardy and should be kept in collections.

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