Exploring the Difference Between Eastern and Florida Rat Snakes

An article about Eastern Rat Snakes and their relation to Florida Rat Snakes. The Eastern Rat Snake is a species of rat snake found in the eastern United States, while the Florida Rat Snake is found only in Florida. In this article, explore the differences between these two snakes, including their habitats, diet, behavior, and any other interesting facts that will help readers gain a better understanding of the Eastern Rat Snake and its relation to Florida’s own Florida Rat Snake.

Introduction

Florida and Eastern Rat Snakes are two species of rat snakes that can be found in different parts of the United States. Florida Rat Snake is a unique reptile native to Florida, while Eastern Rat Snake can be found in the eastern part of the country. Although they may look alike, these two species have several differences when it comes to their habitats, diet, behavior and other interesting facts related to them. In this article, we will explore all you need to know about Eastern Rat Snakes and its relation to Florida’s own Florida Rat Snake.

Isolated close up portrait of eastern yellow ratsnake on the ground

Overview of Florida and Eastern Rat Snakes

Florida Rat Snake and Eastern Rat Snake are two species of rat snake found in different parts of the United States. Florida Rat Snake, also known as Black Pine Snake, is a nonvenomous reptile native to Florida; it ranges from the Florida panhandle west to Mississippi, Alabama, and parts of Georgia. Eastern Rat Snake, on the other hand, is found in the eastern United States from Florida to New England and Canada. Florida Rat Snakes can grow up to 6 feet in length, while Eastern Rat Snake can reach lengths of up to 8 feet.

Overview of Florida and Eastern Rat Snakes

Isolated close up portrait of eastern yellow ratsnake on the ground
Florida Rat Snake and Eastern Rat Snake are two species of rat snake found in different parts of the United States. Florida Rat Snake, also known as Black Pine Snake, is a nonvenomous reptile native to Florida; it ranges from the Florida panhandle west to Mississippi, Alabama, and parts of Georgia. Eastern Rat Snake, on the other hand, is found in the eastern United States from Florida to New England and Canada. Florida Rat Snakes can grow up to 6 feet in length, while Eastern Rat Snake can reach lengths of up to 8 feet.

Differences Between Florida and Eastern Rat Snakes

When it comes to Florida and Eastern Rat Snakes, there are several key differences that set each species apart from the other. Florida Rat Snake has many types and has a distinctive pinkish-gray or grayish-brown coloration, while Eastern Rat Snake has a more brown or black coloration. Florida Rat Snake is typically found in pine woods, while Eastern Rat Snake can be found in a variety of habitats, from deciduous forests to wetlands. Florida Rat Snake is also typically smaller than Eastern Rat Snake, growing up to 6 feet in length compared to Eastern Rat Snake’s 8-foot reach.

Close up view of a Yellow Rat snake on  a leafy forest floor, facing the camera, with body slightly raised off the ground and tongue fully extended, tasting the air.

Differences Between Florida and Eastern Rat Snakes

Close up view of a Yellow Rat snake on  a leafy forest floor, facing the camera, with body slightly raised off the ground and tongue fully extended, tasting the air.
When it comes to Florida and Eastern Rat Snakes, there are several key differences that set each species apart from the other. Florida Rat Snake has a distinctive pinkish-gray or grayish-brown coloration, while Eastern Rat Snake has a more brown or black coloration. Florida Rat Snake is typically found in pine woods, while Eastern Rat Snake can be found in a variety of habitats, from deciduous forests to wetlands. Florida Rat Snake is also typically smaller than Eastern Rat Snake, growing up to 6 feet in length compared to Eastern Rat Snake’s 8-foot reach.
A bloated Yellow rat snake raises its head and flicks its tongue as it winds its way down a sandy forest floor.

Habitat of Florida and Eastern Rat Snakes

Florida Rat Snake is typically found in pine woods, while Eastern Rat Snake can be found in a wide variety of habitats, from deciduous forests to wetlands. Florida Rat Snake is also typically smaller than Eastern Rat Snake and prefers to remain near the ground where it can easily hide. Florida Rat Snake is also known for its climbing ability and often seeks out shelter in trees or logs. Eastern Rat Snake, on the other hand, is more likely to be found in or near water and often seen swimming between aquatic plants and logs.

Habitat of Florida and Eastern Rat Snakes

A bloated Yellow rat snake raises its head and flicks its tongue as it winds its way down a sandy forest floor.
Florida Rat Snake is typically found in pine woods, while Eastern Rat Snake can be found in a wide variety of habitats, from deciduous forests to wetlands. Florida Rat Snake is also typically smaller than Eastern Rat Snake and prefers to remain near the ground where it can easily hide. Florida Rat Snake is also known for its climbing ability and often seeks out shelter in trees or logs. Eastern Rat Snake, on the other hand, is more likely to be found in or near water and often seen swimming between aquatic plants and logs.

Diet of Florida and Eastern Rat Snakes

Florida Rat Snake feed primarily on small animals such as rodents, rabbits, birds and lizards, while Eastern Rat Snake’s diet consists mostly of mice, rats, frogs, bird eggs and other small creatures. Florida Rat Snake is also known to eat snakes, including its own species. Eastern Rat Snakes are also opportunistic feeders and will often feed on carrion or scavenge for food among debris.
Macro shot of a snake eating a mouse.

Diet of Florida and Eastern Rat Snakes

Macro shot of a snake eating a mouse.
Florida Rat Snake feed primarily on small animals such as rodents, rabbits, birds and lizards, while Eastern Rat Snake’s diet consists mostly of mice, rats, frogs, bird eggs and other small creatures. Florida Rat Snake is also known to eat snakes, including its own species. Eastern Rat Snakes are also opportunistic feeders and will often feed on carrion or scavenge for food among debris.
A yellow rat snake doing an about turn and crossing over its own body as it tries to take cover

Behavior of Florida and Eastern Rat Snakes

Florida Rat Snake and Eastern Rat Snake both share a similar behavior pattern, but Florida Rat Snake is more likely to be active during the day and Eastern Rat Snake is more active at night. Florida Rat Snakes may become aggressive if they feel threatened, while Eastern Rat Snakes are usually docile and not easily provoked. Florida Rat Snake has been known to coil up into tight balls when threatened, while Eastern Rat Snake will usually try to escape.

Behavior of Florida and Eastern Rat Snakes

A yellow rat snake doing an about turn and crossing over its own body as it tries to take cover
Florida Rat Snake and Eastern Rat Snake both share a similar behavior pattern, but Florida Rat Snake is more likely to be active during the day and Eastern Rat Snake is more active at night. Florida Rat Snakes may become aggressive if they feel threatened, while Eastern Rat Snakes are usually docile and not easily provoked. Florida Rat Snake has been known to coil up into tight balls when threatened, while Eastern Rat Snake will usually try to escape.

Interesting Facts about Florida and Eastern Rat Snakes

Florida Rat Snake has a distinct pinkish-gray or grayish-brown coloration that can be used to distinguish it from other species of snakes, while Eastern Rat Snake has a more brown or black pattern on its scales. Florida Rat Snake has a unique ability to climb trees and seek out shelter in logs, while Eastern Rat Snake is more likely to be found near the water. Florida Rat Snake feeds on small animals such as rodents, rabbits, birds and lizards while Eastern Rat Snake feeds mostly on mice, rats and other small creatures.
A bloated Yellow rat snake raises its head and flicks its tongue as it winds its way down a sandy forest floor.

Interesting Facts about Florida and Eastern Rat Snakes

A bloated Yellow rat snake raises its head and flicks its tongue as it winds its way down a sandy forest floor.
Florida Rat Snake has a distinct pinkish-gray or grayish-brown coloration that can be used to distinguish it from other species of snakes, while Eastern Rat Snake has a more brown or black pattern on its scales. Florida Rat Snake has a unique ability to climb trees and seek out shelter in logs, while Eastern Rat Snake is more likely to be found near the water. Florida Rat Snake feeds on small animals such as rodents, rabbits, birds and lizards while Eastern Rat Snake feeds mostly on mice, rats and other small creatures.
Rat snake, Ptyas mucosa , Aarey Milk Colony , INDIA. Ptyas mucosa, commonly known as the oriental ratsnake, Indian rat snake, 'darash' or dhaman, is a common species of colubrid snake found in parts of South and Southeast Asia.

How to Identify a Florida or Eastern Rat Snake in the Wild

Florida Rat Snake is typically smaller than Eastern Rat Snake and has a distinct pinkish-gray or grayish-brown coloration. Florida Rat Snake also tends to be more active during the day while Eastern Rat Snake is more active at night. Florida Rat Snakes are also known for their climbing ability and can often be found in trees or logs. Eastern Rat Snakes, on the other hand, are more likely to be found near the water and feed mostly on mice, rats and other small creatures. Florida Rat Snake has a coiling behavior when threatened while Eastern Rat Snake will usually try to escape instead.

How to Identify a Florida or Eastern Rat Snake in the Wild

Rat snake, Ptyas mucosa , Aarey Milk Colony , INDIA. Ptyas mucosa, commonly known as the oriental ratsnake, Indian rat snake, 'darash' or dhaman, is a common species of colubrid snake found in parts of South and Southeast Asia.
Florida Rat Snake is typically smaller than Eastern Rat Snake and has a distinct pinkish-gray or grayish-brown coloration. Florida Rat Snake also tends to be more active during the day while Eastern Rat Snake is more active at night. Florida Rat Snakes are also known for their climbing ability and can often be found in trees or logs. Eastern Rat Snakes, on the other hand, are more likely to be found near the water and feed mostly on mice, rats and other small creatures. Florida Rat Snake has a coiling behavior when threatened while Eastern Rat Snake will usually try to escape instead.

Conservation Efforts for Florida and Eastern Rat snakes

Conservation efforts for Florida and Eastern Rat Snakes have become increasingly important in recent years as the wild populations of both species decline. Florida Rat Snake is listed as a Species of Special Concern and is protected under Florida state law. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has also implemented conservation plans to help protect Florida Rat Snakes from development and other threats. Eastern Rat Snakes are also listed as a Species of Special Concern in some states and the US Fish & Wildlife Service is working to help protect their habitat. Conservation efforts for both species include protecting their habitats, reducing illegal collection, monitoring population trends, and educating the public on the importance of these snakes. With proper conservation practices, Florida and Eastern Rat Snakes can continue to thrive in their native habitats. 

Conclusion

Overall, Florida and Eastern Rat Snakes may appear similar but have distinct differences in coloration, habitats and behavior. Both Florida Rat Snake and Eastern Rat Snake are important members of the Florida’s ecosystem, providing a valuable source of pest control for Florida’s farmers and homeowners. Understanding these two species can help us better appreciate the natural world around us.  By learning more about Florida and Eastern Rat Snakes, we can be better prepared to identify and appreciate these amazing creatures. 

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