eastern rat snake

plural eastern rat snakes

Definition of eastern rat snake

: a large, heavy-bodied, nonvenomous rat snake (Pantherophis alleghaniensis) that is typically black with a white throat, usually reaches over five feet (1.5 meters) in length, feeds on birds and small animals (such as mice, rats, and frogs), and is found east of the Appalachian Mountains and the Apalachicola River

Note: In an alternative classification system, the eastern rat snake is not considered a separate species but rather included within other eastern subspecies (such as Pantherophis obsoletus obsoletus and P. obsoletus quadrivittata) of a common rat snake. Eastern rat snake is also often used synonymously with black rat snake.

— compare gray rat snake, western rat snake

First Known Use of eastern rat snake

2001, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about eastern rat snake

Time Traveler for eastern rat snake

Time Traveler

The first known use of eastern rat snake was in 2001

See more words from the same year

Statistics for eastern rat snake

Cite this Entry

“Eastern rat snake.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eastern%20rat%20snake. Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

Comments on eastern rat snake

What made you want to look up eastern rat snake? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!