The Texas Rat Snake is the most common large snake in the Austin area!
The Texas Rat Snakes are constrictors and are not venomous!
The Texas Rat Snake is the ONLY large snake in the Austin area that climbs! It commonly climbs trees, sides of buildings, etc...
The Texas Rat Snake is often incorrectly called a 'chicken snake', probably because of its fondness for hen's eggs.
It is often misidentified for several reasons. This snake will vibrate its tail, and depending on what the tail is hitting against may make a sound that will make you think that you are dealing with a rattlesnake, even though Texas Rat Snakes have no rattle!
While the juveniles are colored with brown blotches on a gray background, the adult's dark gray to black blotches will be on a red, orange, yellow, or even white background, giving the snake a wide range of possible color combinations. The belly is plain with no patterning.
The adults are from 4 to 6 feet long, but Tim Cole actually caught one near Zilker Park that was 7'1" long!
The Texas Rat Snake will eat any kind of rodent, bird, or bird eggs. They are excellent climbers and will go into attics and under homes in search of prey.
These snakes are very defensive when cornered or captured. But hey, if your main diet consisted of rats, you'd probably have an attitude problem, too.
If you don't have any food for them around your house (rodents), they will tend to stay away or maybe just be passing through.
The Texas Rat Snake is one of the most beneficial snakes in the Austin area because of its ability to keep the rodent population down. They also compete with rattlesnakes for the same food source, hence keeping rattlesnakes away!