rat snake

noun
plural rat snakes

Definition of rat snake

: any of various large, nonvenomous, colubrid snakes (as of the genera Elaphe, Pantherophis, Coelognatuhus) that feed chiefly on rodents (such as mice and rats) and birds

called also chicken snake

— see black rat snake, eastern rat snake, red rat snake, western rat snake

Examples of rat snake in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Walking past cicada exoskeletons hanging from tree branches, a leaping fawn and a rat snake, Dana picked a cicada off a branch, inspected its underside, looked into its zombie eyes and flicked it forward to send it flying off again. Morgan Greene, chicagotribune.com, 17 June 2021 Luckily for a 5½-foot Eastern rat snake, a Virginia woman noticed something was amiss. Washington Post, 1 May 2021 Per social media commentators, the snake in the video appears to potentially be a non-venomous black eastern rat snake, which can grow up to 7 feet in length, according to the National Wildlife Federation. Nicholas Rice, PEOPLE.com, 10 Aug. 2020 The good-guy snakes include but aren’t limited to the eastern hognose snake, Texas brown snake, Texas rat snake, rough green snake, garter snake, milk snake, bullsnake, kingsnake, indigo snake, black racer, water snake, blind snake and coachwhip. Howard Garrett, Dallas News, 8 June 2020 According to The Independent, farmers will be compensated about $88 per porcupine; $84 per civet cat; $11 per kilogram of bamboo rat; $17 per kilogram of cobra, king rattle or rat snakes; and $345 per wild goose or Chinese muntjac deer. Benjamin Vanhoose, PEOPLE.com, 19 May 2020 Commenters on the article identified it as a rat snake. Fox News, 12 Aug. 2019 The homeowners believe that their temporary residential guest was a rat snake. Peter Dawson, Houston Chronicle, 25 July 2019 In the winter, the animals will den underground, commonly returning to the same spot year after year, and often commune there with other snake species, such as rat snakes and rattlesnakes. National Geographic, 22 July 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of rat snake

1818, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About rat snake

Time Traveler for rat snake

Time Traveler

The first known use of rat snake was in 1818

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near rat snake

rats

rat snake

rat-stripper

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for rat snake

Cite this Entry

“Rat snake.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rat%20snake. Accessed 21 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on rat snake

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rat snake

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about rat snake

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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