Natural Selection History of the Rat Snake
History of the Rat Snake
Adult rat snakes are typically 3-5 ft, but large individual snakes may be more than 6 ft long. The Rat Snake varies depending on the geographic range. Black rat snakes are more northern in distribution and are black on top with a faint hint of white between some of the scales. Yellow rat snakes are greenish, yellow, or orange with four dark stripes running the length of the body. Gray rat snakes are dark to light gray with darker gray or brown blotches. These snakes are most common in forests. Rat Snakes are most active in the day time. All Rat Snakes are powerful constrictors. Their diet consists of rodents and other small mammals, as well as birds and bird eggs. Younger Rat Snakes eat frogs and lizards along with the previously listed food. Most Rat Snakes are great climbers and climb high tries to hunt bird eggs or squirrels. If cornered or threatened the snake will vibrate its tail rapidly. If done on the bottom of a forest floor with leaves, it can resemble a rattle snake. These snakes are non-venomous.
How is the Rat Snake an example of Natural Selection?
Range and Habitat
Rat snakes are found throughout every southeastern state and most of the eastern and Midwestern states as far north as southern New England and southern Michigan. In our region, black rat snakes are found in the mountains and Piedmont regions of central Georgia and South Carolina. Yellow rat snakes are found along the coast and gray rat snakes are found in southern Georgia and along the Savannah River in Southern South Carolina . Rat snakes occupy a wide variety of habitats including rocky timbered hills, hardwood forests, river floodplains and swamp margins. They are commonly found in abandoned buildings and barns and are often the most common large snake in suburban areas.
The Rat Snake mates mostly in the spring and lays 5-44 eggs in June to August. They lay their eggs in a rotting hollow tree or compost. The eggs hatch between late August to October.
These are superior to other snakes that did not survive because rat snakes are constrictors. They can last longer and aren't as big of a threat because they are non-venomous.
Survival of the Fittest
This goes along with competition. They have good survival skills and know how to survive.
The harmless rat snake is one of the most common and beneficial snakes in the United States. It gets its name from the fact that it is frequently found on farms and in barns feeding on rats and mice. If you remove or kill a rat snake from these areas, the rodent population can increase quickly, posing a threat to human health and to food and grain supplies.