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News Story
Updated: 07/02/2013 08:01:26AM

A snake with coats of many colors

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Bill Dunson

PHOTO PROVIDED BY BILL DUNSON

An adult yellow rat snake.

PHOTO PROVIDED BY BILL DUNSON

The head of an adult black rat snake.

PHOTO PROVIDED BY BILL DUNSON

The head of an adult black rat snake.

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As a naturalist interested in learning about the incredible diversity of life, I constantly have to deal with the difficulties of identifying animals and plants of different but related species that closely resemble one another.

With the common rat snake in the east we have a different problem — within one species there is a wide variety of types in different geographic locations. Thus, from New England to middle Georgia it is the black rat snake. In the southeastern coastal plain to Florida it is the yellow rat snake. Other forms are found in the West and extreme southern Florida. There is also a separate southeastern species, the red rat snake, or corn snake.

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