The gray ratsnake is a specially protected reptile, and listed as a species at risk. Its status in Ontario is threatened (Frontenac Axis population) and endangered (Carolinian population). Please act responsibly to ensure the safety of an encountered snake, for example, by not letting it get hit by traffic; if conditions are safe for you, you are comfortable doing so, and you are able to assist.
Ratsnakes may freeze when confronted on the road, leading to snake mortality. In general, walking behind the snake should encourage it to move forward. Basic information on the gray ratsnake, and tips for moving ratsnakes along are provided in the links below. Please read this resource material to familiarize yourself with this ratsnake, and safe methods of removal. The grey ratsnake is nonvenomous, but please know that it can deliver a painful bite in its defence. A bite from this snake would require first aid (treat as puncture wound from animal) to prevent infection. As well, this snake is a constrictor, so picking it up with your hands is not recommended, except for experienced handlers. It will attach to a branch, broomstick, but also your arm, leg if allowed. This snake is an avid climber of trees and buildings. Note that juveniles differ in markings, and are blotched. Older snakes are darker and larger, up to around 6' (and rarely 7') long. Dogs have been known to attack this snake.
If you have any questions regarding the gray ratsnake, or any other (Canadian) wildlife, please e-mail Suzy (hikersuzy @ gmail.com). More information on the gray ratsnake can also be found on our Wildlife Links page.
So, you found a gray ratsnake. Now what? Have a snake story to tell? e-mail Suzy
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