One of the most common species of snake found in America, the Black Rat Snake (otherwise known as the Central Rat Snake, Gray Rat Snake, Chicken Snake or the Pilot Black Snake), is a medium/large-sized snake that commonly reaches 4-6 feet in length by adulthood, yet there’s a chance that you could find one that reaches 7 feet in length or greater.
These snakes have different color variations and, apart from their Northern counterpart, they retain most of their color for their whole life, ranging from a black/brown color with yellow/white stripes to a grayish/white color with brown blotches and/or stripes.
Rat Snakes are known to live in areas with plenty of trees or crevices to escape into or live in/on, a strong rodent and bird population, and/or farmlands with sheds, barns or shacks for them to hide in, not too far off from human interaction. They aren’t venomous, so, apart from a minor bite wound, they aren’t really a threat to humans and shouldn’t be a concern. They will, however, share homes with other venomous species of snake, so do exercise caution if you’re near one of its burrow(s).
If you happen to scare one of these snakes, it’s best not to approach it. It won’t do much more than secrete a foul-smelling musk from its cloaca (The only opening leading to the digestive, urinary and reproductive tracks located towards the back-end of the snake) or bite if you attempt to hold it. Best not to attempt to handle it but, if you absolutely have to handle it, wear thick, protective clothing (such as leather) to move it away.