Everglades Rat Snake
(Elaphe obsoleta rossallen)
The Everglades rat snake may have the most striking appearance of all of the North American rat snakes. Indeed, the most outstanding examples are certainly some of the most beautiful snakes in the world. Sunshine Serpents has taken a special interest in this snake since its founding and it has become kind of our “flagship” breeding project. Most captive hobbyists associate the label Everglades rat snake with a bright orange snake with faintly visible stripes and a red tongue. In reality, many captive Everglades rat snakes fall short of this description. However, our adults generally typify the popular image of what an Everglades rat snake should be.
Some of our stock originates from Bill and Kathy Love’s old colony, which descended from another breeder named Marcia Lincoln. Lincoln reportedly acquired a particularly beautiful wild caught specimen in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s and selectively bred the offspring for orange coloration. We also handpicked a stand out baby from a clutch of offspring being sold by the now defunct reptile wholesaler Burgundy Reptiles. This baby showed exceptional pink coloration and we anticipated that it would grow into a beautiful adult, which it did.
Over the years, extensive field experience in South Florida has allowed us to observe many hundreds, possibly even thousands, of rat snakes in the wild. We have retained a few stand out examples for our colony. Our adults tend to have bright orange background coloration with barely discernable stripes. The chins and throats are usually some shade of yellow or white. Many of our hatchlings show a pinkish hue, which intensifies into orange with age. The “true” Everglades rat has become somewhat of a myth among herpetoculturists. At Sunshine Serpents, we are working to make that myth a reality.
Pic and info from http://www.sunshineserpents.com/