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What Is Michigan's Largest Snake? It's Shiny, Black & Can Grow Up To 8-Feet Long [VIDEO]

LANSING (WWJ) - Michigan isn't exactly known as the land of snakes, but did you know that the largest species in the state can grow up to eight feet long?

We're talking about the Black Rat Snake and whether you're a hunter, a wildlife enthusiast or just someone who enjoys an occasional walk in the woods -- you'll want to know how to identify this reptile should you ever cross paths.

That being said, the Black Rat Snake is pretty rare. They are listed as a "species of special concern" by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and are protected by state law. So if you come across one, enjoy its presence but leave it in the wild.

The snake has shiny, black scales with a white chin and throat. Young rat snakes are patterned with dark blotches on a gray background, and traces of this juvenile coloration are often visible in adult specimens. Adults are around 1.5 inches in diameter and can measure anywhere from 3.5 to 8 feet in length -- making the species the largest in Michigan.

The snakes are found in the southern half of the Lower Peninsula, in or near woodlands and often near water. They climb well and often enter barns and abandoned buildings in search of rodents, a favorite food. When approached, the shy snakes often hold perfectly still but if cornered or grabbed, they may hiss and strike. The snakes are non-venomous and harmless to humans.


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