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Beauty Rat Snake Fact File

Orthriophis taeniura

Credit: LiCheng Shih, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Weight

Insufficient

Data

Length

2.5m

(8.2ft)

Lifespan

Wild 12 years

Captive 12 years

Diet

Carnivore

Rodents, Eggs, Birds

Conservation Status

IUCN

Not Evaluated

The beauty snake is known by a variety of names across their wide range in southern Asia. These include cave racer, cave-dwelling ratsnake, stripe-tailed racer and stripe-tailed rat snake.

They are carnivores with their main food source being bats which they find in the caves they inhabit.

Females will deposit between 9 and 20 eggs in the spring. She remains close by to protect them against attack by predators.

These animas are threatened by habitat loss and persecution due to a general fear of snakes.

Read on to learn more about these remarkable reptiles.

Appearance

What does the beauty rat snake look like?

This snake has a number of subspecies and as such their is high variation in their appearance across their range. They have scales across their body which are tan, yellowish-brown, olive or bluish-grey. This is blotched with white, yellow or tan.

All of the known variants have a thick black stripe which runs from the eye. Some individuals have a pale stripe running down the side of the body.

Color morphs such as albino and melanistic individuals have been recorded.

A beauty rat snake will reach lengths of up to 2.5m (8.2ft) long. There is variation in their length between subspecies.

Diet

What does the beauty rat snake eat?


Beauty rat snakes are carnivores. They will feed on rodents, bats, birds and eggs.

Bats are a main component of their diet and these snakes are able to hand at cave entrances where they will seize bats as they fly in and out.

They are a constrictor and will wrap around their prey to subdue it before it is swallowed whole.

These snakes rely on heat receptors in their body to identify bats.

Beauty Rat Snake

Credit: LiCheng Shih, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Range

Where can you find the beauty rat snake?

Asia is the native home of beauty rat snake. Here they can be found in India, Myanmar, China, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Taiwan, Malaysia and Indonesia.

An introduced population of this species has established in Japan.

Habitat

What kind of environment does the beauty rat snake live in?

This species is found in forests. They will also be found in cultivated fields. Some are welcomed in to homes where they are valued for their role in pest control.

They will seek shelter in a cave. This is unusual for snakes but is possible due to the warm environment in southern Asia.

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Reproduction

How does the beauty rat snake produce its young?

Mating takes place during spring. Their eggs are laid from mid-July to early August.

Each clutch includes between 9 and 20 eggs. Females will remain near their eggs and will defend them against predation.

Young must care for themselves as soon as they are born.

Behavior

What does the beauty rat snake do with its day?

These animals can be active during both the day and night undertaking sporadic bursts of activity at random intervals.

They are fast and efficient climbers which can easily move through the trees.

Beauty Rat Snake

Credit: Holger Krisp, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Predators and Threats

What is impacting the survival of the beauty rat snake?

Natural predators of the beauty rat snake include birds of prey, monitors and large snakes.

In some areas this species is appreciated as a form of pest control. In other areas they are subject to control as an invasive species.

These animals are affected by habitat loss across their range.

Quick facts

These snakes may also be known as the beauty snake, cave racer, cave-dwelling ratsnake, stripe-tailed racer and stripe-tailed rat snake.

Eight subspecies of the beauty rat snake are recognized.

Beauty Rat Snake

Credit: Public Domain

References

Reptiles and Amphibians of Thailand. 2021. Beauty Rat Snake. [online] Available at: <https://bangkokherps.wordpress.com/list-of-snakes-in-thailand/beauty-rat-snake/> [Accessed 19 November 2021].

Ratsnakes.com. 2021. Beauty Snake — (Elaphe taeniura). [online] Available at: <http://www.ratsnakes.com/Etaeniura.html> [Accessed 19 November 2021].

Nies.go.jp. 2021. Beauty snake / Invasive Species of Japan. [online] Available at: <https://www.nies.go.jp/biodiversity/invasive/DB/detail/30120e.html> [Accessed 19 November 2021].

Genomics.senescence.info. 2021. Taipan beauty snake (Elaphe taeniura) longevity, ageing, and life history. [online] Available at: <https://genomics.senescence.info/species/entry.php?species=Elaphe_taeniura> [Accessed 19 November 2021].

Zone, T. and snake, B., 2021. Wildlife in Japan: Beauty rat snake. [online] Trek Zone. Available at: <https://trek.zone/en/japan/animals/beauty-rat-snake> [Accessed 19 November 2021].

Oregon Zoo. 2021. Education snakes. [online] Available at: <https://www.oregonzoo.org/discover/animals/education-snakes> [Accessed 19 November 2021].

Ambassador Animal. 2021. Cave Rat Snake. [online] Available at: <https://aaric.org/2018/09/10/cave-rat-snake/> [Accessed 19 November 2021].

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