Western Rat Snake

(Pantherophis obsoletus)

Seneca Park Zoo is home to one western rat snake, a male named Pugsly. The rat snakes are a part of the Zoo’s ambassador animal program.

Animal Facts


The western rat snake is an opportunistic feeder, meaning it will go after a wide range of available prey including mice, rats, other snakes, lizards, bird eggs, songbirds, squirrels, and frogs. These snakes can go for more than a week without food.

Status in The Wild

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status

The western rat snake has one of the largest distributions of all common rat snakes. They can be found in northern New York down through Georgia, and west across Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Similarly, they can also be found in a wide range of habitats, from sea level to high elevations, such as the Appalachian Mountains, to rocky hillsides and flat farmlands.

The western rat snake is listed as least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), in view of its wide distribution, tolerance of moderate habitat modification, and presumed large population. However, they occasionally become victims of roadkill and also get killed by humans when mistaken for venomous snakes.