Rat snakes are the one of the largest kinds of species of snakes, with over 50 types of sub-species. One of the most common of this large group is the Yellow Rat Snake. They are a relatively large constrictor snake, growing up to five to seven feet in length, and in the south are yellow in color with long brown stripes that cover the entire length of the snake. Yellow Rat Snakes are found along the coastal United States, with the most populated area of them in Southern Georgia and along the Savannah River in the Carolinas. Being that they are found mostly near water, they are excellent swimmers. They are most active at dusk and throughout the night and as their name indicates, the most common food in it's diet is rats. Their diet is quite varied though and the young survive on lizards, frogs and mice.

The Yellow Rat Snake is a big help to rodent control throughout the thousands of acres of natural lands on Sanibel. I have witnessed Yellow Rat Snakes in cabbage palms with rats many times and work to educate our golfers and community residents about this important and non-threatening snake. You're likely to see this easily identifiable snake all around the islands of Sanibel and Captiva.