black rat snake

plural black rat snakes

Definition of black rat snake

: a common, heavy-bodied rat snake (Pantherophis obsoletus obsoletus synonym Pantherophis obsoleta obsoleta synonym Elaphe obsoleta obsoleta) chiefly of the eastern and central U.S. that is black with a white throat and sometimes white showing between the scales, typically reaches over five feet (1.5 meters) in length, and feeds on birds and small animals (such as mice, rats, and frogs)

Note: In alternative classification systems, black rat snake is used synonymously with either the eastern rat snake or the western rat snake.

called also blacksnake, black snake

Examples of black rat snake in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The snake – a black rat snake – sparked panic in the travelers passing through the terminal, the Independent reports. Fox News, "Philippines Airport passengers panic over snake sighting in departures lounge," 16 Sep. 2018 Sounds like a juvenile black rat snake, very beneficial for keeping down rodents. Ellen Nibali,, "Garden Q&A: How to get rid of poison hemlock," 5 July 2018 Animal control captured a black rat snake that was found in a garage and released it outside. Washington Post, "Alexandria and Arlington Animal Watch," 19 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'black rat snake.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of black rat snake

1888, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of black rat snake was in 1888

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Cite this Entry

“Black rat snake.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Sep. 2020.

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