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rat snake:see black snakeblack snake,
name for several snakes, not all closely related, that are black in color. In the United States the name is applied chiefly to the black racer and to the black rat snake (Elaphe obsoleta), both partly arboreal in their habits.
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(Spilotes pullatus), a snake of the family Colubridae. Length, up to 3.6 m. It has bright yellow transverse stripes on a dark blue background. Distributed from southern Mexico through Central and South America to Argentina, the rat snake inhabits humid forests, thickets, mangrove thickets, and marshes. It can swim and climb trees. It feeds on reptiles, small mammals, and birds; it often crawls into settlements and attacks baby chicks, hence its other common name, chicken snake.