What is a Chicken Snake?
Chicken snakes are not one particular kind of snake. They are grouped together because they are nonvenomous, feed mainly on rodents, and lay eggs.
Along with referring to this group as chicken snakes, there is another common name applied to the group: rat snakes. Rat snakes are identified as a subspecies of chicken snake.
Corn snakes are identified as a member of the genus Pantherophis. This is a large group of nonvenomous snakes found throughout North America. These snakes are known for eating insects and spiders. Some species live in burrows and others hunt on land.
What Does a Chicken Snake Look Like?
Chicken snakes come in many shapes and sizes, and while there are several species out there, most people tend to think of them as being greenish-brown. However, it turns out that there are actually quite a few types of snakes that fall under the “chicken snake” umbrella. In fact, there are six different kinds of chickensnakes, each with their own unique characteristics.
The first type of chicken snake is called the Eastern chicken snake. They’re found throughout the East Coast and Midwest, and they’re usually about 10 inches long. Their coloration varies from light brown to dark brown, and they often have yellow spots along their backs.
The second type of chicken snake is known as the Western chicken snake. They’re much smaller than the Eastern variety, measuring around 5 inches long, and they’re typically found in California and Arizona. Their coloration tends to be lighter than the Eastern variety, and they lack the yellow spotting.
The third type of chicken snake is the Texas chicken snake. They’re similar in size to the Eastern variety, but they live further south, in Texas and New Mexico. They’re slightly larger than the Eastern variety, reaching up to 12 inches long. Their color ranges from olive to gray, and they almost always have some sort of spotting pattern.
Next we’ll take a look at the fourth type of chicken snake, the Florida chicken snake. They’re the smallest of the bunch, growing only 2 inches long, and they live in the southeastern part of the United States. They’re very similar to the Eastern variety, except they have a paler body and no yellow spotting.
Finally, we arrive at the fifth type of chicken snake, which is the Northern chicken snake. They’re even smaller than the Florida variety, coming in at less than 2 inches long. They can be found in Alaska and Canada, and they’re also much darker than the others. They have a black body, with little to no markings.
And finally, we end our journey into the world of chicken snakes with the sixth and final type of chicken snake, and that is the Pacific chicken snake. This particular variety lives in Hawaii, and they’re twice as big as the rest of the varieties. They grow anywhere from 4 to 7 feet long, and they’re much heavier than the other varieties. Their coloring is extremely variable, ranging from pale tan to reddish orange, and they’re rarely spotted.
Chicken Snake Scientific Classification
The scientific classification system used to classify animals into groups based upon physical characteristics is called the Linnean System. This system is named after Carl von Linné, a Swedish botanist and physician who developed it in 1735. His original name for his taxonomic method was Naturhistoria. In English, “Linnaean” is pronounced /ˈlɪnəˌæwʲ/; however, in German, French, Latin, Spanish, and Italian, it is pronounced /ˈlinəˌæwa/.
In 18th century France, the French Academy of Sciences adopted the Linnaean system, making it the international standard for classifying organisms.
Chicken Snake Facts
The average litter size for chicken snakes ranges from 12 to 18. They are usually found in dry areas, such as deserts, grasslands, and savannahs. Their diet consists mainly of small rodents, lizards, birds, frogs, and insects. They can grow up to 2 feet long and weigh about 5 pounds.
Where To Find Chicken Snakes
Spilotes pullatus prefers humid tropical climates and forested areas. It lives in a variety of habitats including rainforests, mangroves, swamps, coastal wetlands, riversides, urban parks and gardens. Although it is considered a nocturnal snake, it does spend some daylight hours basking under tree branches. This species prefers warm temperatures and feeds primarily on frogs and lizards.
Chicken Snake Scientific Name
The scientific name for the chicken snakes is Spilotes pullarus. This species is found in Mexico, Central America, South America, and parts of the Caribbean. At least three subspecies exist:
1. Spilotes pullarus anomalepis 2. Spilotes pullarius argusiformis 3. Spilotes pullaris maculatus 4. Spilotes pullaruss mexicanus 5. Spilotes pullorus pullorus
This species is named for the spotted patterning of the body and tail. The epithet pullarus is derived from the Latin word meaning “stained,” while the specific epithet pullarus refers to the spotted appearance of the animal.
The Different Types of Chicken Snake
There are three main types of chicken snakes: the common chicken snake, the red belly chicken snake, and the brown chicken snake. These three species belong to the genus Coluber, which is part of the family Elapidae. All three species look similar, but there are some differences that help distinguish them. For example, the common chicken snake has a lighter colored body than the others. In addition, it tends to have more orange coloration along its sides.