Small black rat snake

tom_nwnj(z6 NJ)August 12, 2013

I caught a 3' long rat snake in the basement yesterday. The critter was climbing the stairs, looking to get into the kitchen. He's out in the woods now, but ...

Can a snake that size (a constrictor) attack a 10 pound house cat (both cats HAVE claws and all their teeth). I think not, but just want to know if any have an opinion on that.

And if this snake could not attach a cat, could a 6' long rat snake do that? Just wonderin'.

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gregbradley(Upland, CA USDA 9b Sunset 19)

Your cats are safe. A 3' long, 1" wide snake is looking for mice and very small rats. We are talking about the slender bodied rat snake, right?

A 6' long, 3" wide snake could be a danger to a small cat but the snake would probably run away from the cat. If that snake is heavy bodied enough to weigh 20 pounds or so, then that is a different story.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 11:50AM
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tom_nwnj(z6 NJ)

Thanks Greg. Yes, the one in the house was a slender snake.

A 3" wide snake couldn't get under the doors.

I guess the wife's cats will be OK.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 3:17AM
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Even though Rat Snakes do dine on small mammals I have not heard of one attacking a cat which would be about four times as large as a chipmunk, or more. Also, contrary to some myths, these snakes do not wrap themselves around prey and squeeze as a constrictor would. While they do wrap themselves around tree branches that is to hold on and is not a means of obtaining prey.

Here is a link that might be useful: About Rat Snakes

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 6:49AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Kimmsr, Rat snakes ARE constrictors and that is exactly how they subdue their prey. Your attached link clearly says that.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 3:28PM
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Don't forget the other food item of rat snakes...probably mentioned in the link someone provided. Rat snakes also eat other snakes. Encourage your rat snake to hang out. You may get startled when you see him now and then but he will eat copperheads and other small snakes.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 4:35PM
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You betchum rat snakes are constrictors.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 6:11PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I'm not sure that encouraging snakes to hang out in the basement is a good idea. I'd be carefully evicting him to the garden and making every effort to seal all of the possible entries for small snakes, mice, and other critters.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 6:37PM
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