rat snake



any of several New and Old World colubrid snakes, of the genus Elaphe, that feed chiefly on small mammals and birds.

Origin of rat snake

First recorded in 1855–60
Also called house snake.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for rat snake

Historical Examples of rat snake

  • One the great serpent would select, would lap in scaly coils, crush to a red pulp and swallow as a rat-snake swallows a mouse.

    The Hour of the Dragon

    Robert E. Howard

  • All the roofs of the thatched bungalows swarm with rats, and in every house is kept a rat-snake, which kills and eats these rats.

    A Voyage in the 'Sunbeam'

    Annie Allnut Brassey

  • There is a belief in Ceylon that the bite of the rat-snake, though harmless to man, is fatal to black cattle.

  • A friend informs us that he once saw in these gardens a rat-snake of Ceylon devour a common Coluber natrix.

  • The presence of a rat-snake (Zamenis mucosus) in a house at night is believed to bring good fortune to the inmates.

British Dictionary definitions for rat snake

rat snake


any of various nonvenomous rodent-eating colubrid snakes, such as Elaphe obsoleta of North America and Ptyas mucosus of Asia
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012