Gray Ratsnake – Carolinian Population
Status in Canada: Endangered
Status in Ontario: Endangered
Status at SWCR: Extremely rare
The young have dark splotches over a lighter grey background, but they become mostly black as adults.
- It is Ontario’s largest snake, and can grow over 2m long!
- They are long-lived snakes, and can grow as old as 30!
- They hibernate in large groups called hibernacula: disruption of these hibernacula can put entire populations at risk!
Threats at the St. Williams Conservation Reserve:
Habitat Degradation: fragmentation by roads and the expansion of agriculture are making habitat unsuitable for this species.
Direct Mortality: due to agricultural activities, persecution, and collisions with vehicles along roads or trails.
Activities that can harm Gray ratsnakes and damage their critical habitat include:
- Activities that can introduce or encourage the growth of invasive plants, such as dumping of garden waste and off-trail ATV use.
- Activities that fragment habitat such as inappropriate trail or road development.
- Activities that interfere with understory shrubs, unauthorized plant collecting and off-trail ATV use.
- Off-trail recreational activities that damage or displace individuals or nests, such as persecution, crushing under vehicles, and collecting.
St. Williams Conservation Reserve management practices:
- Population monitoring
- Enforcement of unauthorized trail use
What you can do to help:
- Follow the code of conduct for recreational activities in the Conservation Reserve and know and respect the current trail-use regulations.
- Report sightings to the SWCR CC, or the Natural Heritage Information Centre.
- Report unauthorized trail use or any illegal activity related to plants and wildlife to 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667).