This Ratsnake was crawling over rocks on the auto tour road at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma.

The Black Ratsnake (Elaphe obsoleta obsoleta) is a common species of non-venomous snake found in Oklahoma and other parts of the United States. They can grow up to 6 feet in length and are known for their glossy black color and distinctive white chin. Black Ratsnakes are known to be excellent climbers and are often found in trees, barns, and other structures. They feed primarily on rodents and birds, and their presence can be beneficial in controlling populations of these pests.

The Texas Ratsnake (Elaphe obsoleta lindheimeri), is another species of Ratsnake found in Oklahoma. They are similar in appearance to the Black Ratsnake, but have a more yellowish coloration and a lighter chin. Texas Ratsnakes are also non-venomous and feed primarily on rodents and birds.

Ratsnake Crawling Over Rocks
Ratsnake Crawling Over Rocks

They have strong, muscular bodies that give them the power to slither over rough terrain, making it easy for them to traverse even the most challenging of gravel environments.

Their small, pointy scales help to provide traction, allowing them to slither over loose rocks without slipping. Their scales also protect them from injury as they move over sharp rocks and other obstacles.

Ratsnakes are also known for their agility and speed, which helps them to quickly navigate through rocks. They can swiftly move from one area to another, making it possible for them to escape danger or pursue prey.

Gear Used:

  • Camera: Fujifilm X-T3
  • Lens: Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS II USM (attached with a Fringer EF-FX Pro)


I exited my pickup to photograph this Ratsnake while hand-holding my camera.

  • Location: Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge (Oklahoma)
  • Date Taken: June 4, 2020
  • Aperture Priority
  • Aperture: f5.6
  • Shutter speed: 1/75 sec. (as determined by the camera)
  • ISO: 3200
  • White Balance: Auto
  • Metering Mode: Multi
  • Exposure Compensation: +1 EV
  • Back-button Focus
  • Single Point Focus
  • Focal Length: 400 mm
  • Processed With Luminar 4

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