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 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, "Gigantic Black Snake Slithers Along Subway Platform in New York City: 'This Can't Be Real'," 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, "Most snakes in North Texas are beneficial to your garden," 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, "China to Offer Buy-Outs to Farmers Raising Exotic Animals for Human Consumption: Report," 19 May 2020 Commenters on the article identified it as a rat snake. Fox News, "Snake photo bombs Alabama seventh-grader's picture," 12 Aug. 2019 The homeowners believe that their temporary residential guest was a rat snake. Peter Dawson, Houston Chronicle, "Watch large snake slither around the front door of a Houston-area home," 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, "Copperheads," 22 July 2019 The Western rat snake is pretty common in this area, Janusz said. Melinda Morris, NOLA.com, "Slidell woman raising 2-headed snake, named File and Gumbo," 6 June 2018 Watch how to tell the difference between a deadly cottonmouth snake and a nonvenomous rat snake in this video. Joe Marusak, charlotteobserver, "Snake was shading under a car at Walmart. Then these 2 brought lighter fluid, police say," 15 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of rat snake

1818, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for rat snake

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The first known use of rat snake was in 1818

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Cite this Entry

“Rat snake.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rat%20snake. Accessed 27 Nov. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on rat snake

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rat snake

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about rat snake

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