Chicken snakes is not a particular species of snakes. There are many snakes, which are known as chicken snakes.
These snakes are generally found in the United States. They are not poisonous. People call some snakes as chicken snakes because, in the earlier time, some farmers saw these snakes hanging around the chicken coops.
They do so because of these snakes like the food of the chicken coops. The chicken coops were fed with mice.
Along with mice, they eat baby chicks too, but occasionally.
Here are the names of some snakes, which are called chicken snakes. We can say, these are different names or synonyms of the chicken snakes.
This is so because the chicken snakes are those snakes, which are found around the grain stores or chicken coops to feed on mice present there. That’s why they have such names.
The names are listed as follows:
- Eastern rat snake (Pantherophis alleghaniensis)
- Corn snake (Pantherophis guttatus)
- Black rat snake (Pantherophis obsoletus)
- Gray rat snake (Pantherophis spiloides)
- Northern pine snake (Pituophis m.melanoleucus)
ARE THEY POISONOUS?
It has been said that the chicken snakes are non-venomous means they are not poisonous.
Black rat snake
The black rat snake is also known as a western rat snake, pilot black snake, black snake, and Texas rat snake.
These snakes are known as chicken snakes. These snakes are not poisonous. The length of the adult black rat snakes recorded is 105-183 centimeters.
It has been found that these are the largest snakes available in Canada. The weight of these snakes ranges between 0.5 to 2.2 kilograms.
These snakes are said as the best climbers and swimmers.
When these snakes feel threatened, then they produce a bad smell. In the winter season, these snakes hibernate themselves.
In this, they fall asleep but wakes up for basic activities like drinking water, etc. They breed between the months May to June.
The female snakes give birth to any number between one dozen to two dozen. The black rat snakes do not attack the predators if they feel threatened.
In very rare cases, they attack the predators.
Eastern rat snake
The eastern rat snake is also a non-poisonous snake. It has been said that these snakes are similar to the black rats.
In Florida, these snakes are known as yellow snakes. The length of the adult eastern rat snakes is in between 90-180 centimeters.
The length of the longest eastern rat snake recorded is 230 centimeters. They are shiny black.
They have white or cream throat and chin.
They have a checkerboard pattern on their belly, which is black and white
. These snakes are said to be active during the night during the summer season. If an eastern rat snake is feeling harassed then it will freeze himself.
The corn snakes are also known as the chicken snakes. These snakes belong to Northern America but also found in central as well as in southeastern America.
They have a docile nature and are not willing to bite. They have attractive patterns too.
These are some reasons which make these snakes a perfect choice for pet snakes. These snakes have the name corn because these snakes were mostly found near the grain stores.
This is so because they like to feed on mice present there. The corn snakes are said to be beneficial to humans and are harmless as well.
The length of the corn snakes (adult) is 61-182 centimeters. Also, corn snakes are non-poisonous snakes.
Northern pine snake
The northern pine snakes are known as the largest snakes in North America with a length of 1.8 meters.
The northern pine snakes are found in the New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, North Georgia, South Carolina, Southern Kentucky, and Northern Alabama.
These snakes eat smaller eggs, birds, bird’s eggs, rodents, insects, lizards, etc.
These snakes breed once in a year in the month April to May. These snakes are non-poisonous.
APPEARANCE OF THE CHICKEN SNAKES
It has been said that chicken snakes are present in different varieties in the world. Some of these snakes have stripes, some have blotches, some have both over their body.
Along with this, some chicken snakes are available in a single color also. These snakes are present in lovely colors like black, brown, gray, red, yellow and black and white.
As reported by Smithsonian National Zoological Park, they have slender bodies, keeled scales, and heads of wedge shape. They have round pupils.
Along with this, these are non-poisonous snakes. Some chicken snakes have the length about 10 feet.
As reported by the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, the common length of chicken snakes is found between 4-6 feet.
The Eastern rat snakes are shiny and are black. It has been said that a spotted pattern has appeared on their bodies after they stretch their bodies.
They do so after eating food. Moreover, the common length of the Texas rat snake recorded is 6 feet.
Beneath their scales, they have the skin of reddish-orange color.
HABITATS AND RANGE OF THE CHICKEN SNAKES
The chicken snakes can be found anywhere in North America. They can be found anywhere from central America to Southern Canada.
Different species of snakes are found in different places. The eastern rat snakes can be found anywhere between New England and Southern Georgia.
A deciduous forest which is surrounded by the grass is said as an ideal place for eastern rat snakes.
Moreover, the Texas rat snakes can be found anywhere in Texas, including Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.
The habitats of these snakes include forests, suburbia, grasslands, and urban areas. The yellow rat snakes can be found between south and North Carolina, Florida and Georgia.
The habitats of these snakes include pine flatlands, cypress swamps, forests, shrubs, abandoned pastures and buildings, and citrus groves.
Along with this, the red rat snakes can be found anywhere in the Southeastern United States. These snakes are particularly seen in Florida.
The habitats of these snakes include pine flatlands, forests, mangrove swamps, and urban areas.
Moreover, the grey rat snakes can be found anywhere in the central United States including Indiana, Florida, and Mississippi. They are also found in southern Ontario.
The grey rat snakes mostly spend their time in the forests. They venture into the areas which are grassy when it is warm enough.
BEHAVIOUR OF THE CHICKEN SNAKES
As said above, the chicken snakes have different species of snakes under it, so do their behavior.
As reported by Marshall University, the eastern rat snakes are shy in behavior. On the other hand, they also have aggressive behavior. They produce a bad smell when they are picked up by a predator.
Moreover, corn snakes have a docile nature. They are easy to handle and care.
These snakes vibrate their tails when they feel that a predator is near them. They do so for tricking the predator.
DIET AND HUNTING OF CHICKEN SNAKES
How the chicken snakes hunt their prey? They do so by squeezing their target or prey to the death and then they swallow it.
Some people say that these snakes crush the bones of their prey such that they die.
On the other hand, some people say that these snakes squeeze the lungs of their prey or hold it too much tightly such that it becomes hard for them to work.
This activity stops the working of the circulatory system because of which the brain doesn’t flow to the brain and the prey dies. Juveniles mostly eat those preys who are cold-blooded.
The adult snakes of this species eat preys who are warm-blooded. The reason why rat snakes are known as chicken eggs snakes is that these snakes feed on chicken eggs.
Want to know if snakes eat plants? Check out our guide here.
REPRODUCTION OF THE CHICKEN SNAKES
It has been said that the female snakes of this species give two egg clutches in one year. The chicken snakes are oviparous.
The female produces two egg clutches in one year if the conditions are correct and if not, then they give one egg clutch in one year.
They breed in the spring season. The probability of breeding in the winter season is very less.
The female snakes get attracted to the male snakes through pheromones. The fun fact is, male snakes often fight for the same female snakes.
After five weeks, the female snakes produce 12-20 egg clutches approximately at a hidden spot.
The egg hatches and the young come out after two months. These snakes do not care for their babies.
The length of these baby snakes is 33 centimeters. These snakes have high chances of getting eaten by other snakes and hawks.
Some snakes of this species are becoming endangered. This includes the eastern rat snakes. These snakes are said to be endangered in Massachusetts.
The Canadian gray rat snakes are said to be threatened and endangered at the location where they are found.
Moreover, the red rat snakes are said to be endangered in Florida. These snakes are not poisonous and don’t cause any harm to humans.
Read more interesting facts and care guide for Rat Snakes by clicking here.