rat snake

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rat snake

noun

Definition of RAT SNAKE

:  any of various large harmless chiefly rat-eating colubrid snakes (especially genus Elaphe) —called also chicken snake

First Known Use of RAT SNAKE

1860

rat snake

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Aesculapian snake (Elaphe longissima).—Anton Thau/Bavaria Verlag

Any of 40–55 snake species in the genus Elaphe (family Colubridae) and similar forms, found in woodlands and barnyards in North America, Europe, and Asia. Nonvenomous, they kill rats and mice by constriction, and also eat eggs and poultry. Some hunt birds in trees. These egg-laying snakes are normally slow and docile, but in self-defense they vibrate the tail, discharge a foul liquid, and strike from an upreared position. The black rat, or pilot black, snake (E. obsoleta obsoleta) of the eastern U.S. may exceed 8 ft (2.5 m).

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