Gray Rat Snake – Identification
Q: Found this snake in the house. I don’t like them in the garden, but never in the house. What kind of snake is it? What can we do to keep these out?
A: According to Jim Rogers at Nearly Native Nursery, this is a juvenile Black or Gray Rat Snake, Elaphe obsoleta. Some may call them Chicken Snakes, Oak Runners, or simply they are often referred to as Black Snakes.
Rat snakes are slender and long, plus they are good climbers. Their jaws can widen markedly so they can swallow large food.
There are no snake repellents that work particularly well. Your best bet might be to keep a walking stick by your garden entrance and use it to knock the ground and swish through shrubbery as you walk. Any nearby snake will quickly skedaddle and you’ll never see them.
If you find one in the open, their muscles involuntarily contract, giving them a wrinkled appearance.