What Do Rat Snakes Eat?

As you can probably guess from their name their most favorite food to eat is rats.

Rat snakes are medium to large constrictor snakes that kill their prey by constriction. Even though they are very large snakes they pose no threat to humans.

As most constrictor snakes do a rat snake will constrict their prey until it dies and they will swallow it whole. How constriction works is that the snake will squeeze its prey so hard that it overwhelms the circulatory system which means the blood cannot get to the brain of the prey and the prey will die within seconds. This is due to ischemia.

Some of the most common foods that a rat snake will eat include:

  • Rats
  • Mice
  • Chipmucks
  • Voles
  • Frogs
  • Lizards
  • Birds
  • Bird Eggs

What do baby rat snakes eat?

Juvenile rat snakes are known to eat cold-blooded prey unlike adults that stick exclusively to warm-blooded animals.

Therefore baby rat snakes will most likely eat lizards, frogs and dead rats/mices.

More Diet Info

There are certain species of rat snakes that will also eat chicken eggs and therefore are known as chicken snakes.

The way a rat snake will hunt its prey is in a number of ways. One is to actively forage for it and the other way is to wait for and ambush their prey.

Often a rat snake will continue to hunt after a kill as they are now cloaked in the smell of their prey and find it easier to get other kills. Once they have finished hunting they will go back to their original prey they killed.

As do most snakes a rat snake will always try to find prey smaller than it to kill and consume whole. Therefore as a rat snake gets bigger it will kill larger rodents and other prey.

Types of Snakes and What They Eat



Garden (Garter) Snake

Garden (Garter) Snake


Worm Snake

Worm Snake


King Cobra Snake

King Cobra Snake


Grass Snake

Grass Snake


Bull Snake

Bull Snake


Coral Snake

Coral Snake


Rat Snake

Rat Snake


Python Snake

Python Snake


King Snake

King Snake


Rattlesnake

Rattlesnake


Anaconda Snake

Anaconda Snake


Rainbow Boa Snake

Rainbow Boa Snake