|Trans-Pecos Rat Snake|
The Trans-Pecos rat snake (Bogertophis subocularis) is a medium to large (1.0 - 1.7 m), nonvenomous rat snake native to the Chihuahuan Desert, that extends northward into Texas. It has a row of small scales (suboculars) between the lower border of the eye and the upper labials. This is a beautiful snake, yellow to tan dorsally with a series of black or dark brown H-shaped markings. The eyes are large and prominent, light-colored with contrasting round black pupils.
The Trans-Pecos rat snake's habitat consists of desert flats and brushy slopes, and rocky outcrops where they nest and feed on small vertebrates. A nocturnal species, it is uncommon and rarely-seen in the wild, save on warm summer nights during the breeding season. Nicknamed "subocs" by enthusiasts, they are unaggressive when approached, even passive, and are easily raised in captivity.
Males are larger than females as adults. Adult females reach between 3½ to 4½ feet (1.1-1.4 m) long; whereas males grow up to 5 feet (1.5 m) or more.
Their breeding season runs through May and June, while egg-laying begins in July and ends by September. At nearly three months, their incubation period is lengthy for a snake, at the end of which a clutch of anywhere from three to 11 snakes of 28–33 cm hatch. As they are born during winter, the hatchlings may remain hidden underground for several months before venturing outside.
- Alan Tennant, A Field Guide to Texas Snakes, 2nd ed., (Houston: Gulf Publishing Company, 1998), pp. 200–1.
- Dusty Rhoads. The Complete Suboc - A Comprehensive Guide to the Natural History, Care, and Breeding of the Trans-Pecos Ratsnake (forthcoming title in March 2008 from ECO Publishing and Distribution).
- Template:EMBL species
- Simply Subocs