eastern rat snake


plural eastern rat snakes
: 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

Word History

First Known Use

2001, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of eastern rat snake was in 2001

Dictionary Entries Near 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 22 Apr. 2024.

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