Black Rat Snake - (Elaphe Obsoleta)
The Black Ratsnake (Elaphe Obsoleta) is a usually docile natured non-venomous snake found throughout the state of West Virginia. This species is known to have a wide range of habitats including houses, barns, fields, brushlands, woodlands, and streams. This shiny black reptile may exceed six feet in length and normally exhibits traces of its spotted juvenile pattern (light crossbars of white, cream or yellow) throughout its adult life. The belly is light colored with alternating blotches that create a checkerboard effect. This species diet primarily consists of rodents and other warm-blooded prey including birds and eggs. When breeding they deposit from 10-14 chalky white eggs in loose soil. Ratsnakes are commonplace in the pet trade bearing in mind their larger size and need for a suitable habitat.
In West Virginia, the Black Ratsnake is one of three species commonly known as a "Black Snake" along with the Northern Black Racer and Eastern Black Kingsnake however scientifically there's no such snake as a "Black Snake".
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