Ladder Rat Snake

Scientific Name: Elaphe Scalaris

Ladder Rat Snake

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Ladder Rat Snakes, which are large snakes, are common in the southern regions of France. Snakes belonging to the Elaphe scalaris species have heads that are prominent and quite distinct from the rest of their bodies. Their heads have the shape of an egg and the have round pupils unlike most snakes, which have longitudinal pupils. Some Ladder Rat Snakes have brown and grey scales that have two longitudinal bands that are parallel, while others have similar longitudinal bands but white scales. The young Ladder Rat Snakes have longitudinal bands joined by bold bands that resemble a ladder; this is where the common name derives from.

Ladder Rat Snakes Are Beautiful Creatures

Ladder Rat Snake

Facts About Ladder Rat Snakes

Geographic Location

Southern regions of France


This species prefers living in habitats that are sunny and dry with very bushy shrubs; they are also common in semi-arid regions where there are scattered bushy shrubs.


These snakes feed on small mammals such as rats and field mice; they also feed on small birds that perch up on the bushy shrubs. They attack their prey by combining both slow movement and play dead when noticed. When in close proximity, they strike their prey, which they then ingest slowly beginning with the head. Adults swallow prey whole, which is then crushed by powerful stomach muscles. On the other hand, neonates feed on insects such as flies. During the summer season, Ladder Rat Snakes hunt in the evening or in the nighttime and the younger Ladder Rat Snakes, which are quite sensitive to disturbance, are nocturnal. When attacked or threatened the young Ladder Rat Snakes, they hide in holes or in tree hollows. When an attacker corners them, and are infuriated, they tend to become very irritated and may hiss furiously or bite. These snakes are susceptible to the cold weather therefore; they hibernate from October up to the month of April.

Ladder Rat Snake
Snakes can’t bite food so they have to swallow it whole.