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Midland Brown Snake

NON-VENOMOUS

Snake

Scientific name: Storeria dekayi wrightorum TRAPIDO 1944

* Currently accepted name

Synonym:

* scientific names used through time

  • Tropidonotus dekayi – HOLBROOK 1842
  • Tropidonatus [sic] dekayi – HALLOWELL 1847
  • Storeria dekayi – BAIRD & GIRARD 1853
  • Ischnognathus dekayi – DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854
  • Storeria tropica – COPE 1885
  • Storeria dekayi wrightorum – TRAPIDO 1944

Description: Average adult size is 7-9 inches (17.7-22.8 cm), record is 20.75 inches (52.7 cm). Adults are small, thin, and may be tannish to rusty-brown, with a faint light mid-dorsal stripe and fleckings on the sides. There are black spots along both sides of the mid-dorsal stripe that may be connected across the back. There is a light band across the back of head. There is a dark spot on the upper lip scales under the eye. The belly is tannish to pinkish, with black dots along the edges. The scales are keeled and there are 17 dorsal scale rows at midbody. The pupil is round. Juveniles are dark brownish with a light band across back of head.

drawing

A. Top of the head
B. Underside of the head (chin and throat)
C. Front (face view) of the head
D. Side of the head
E. Keeled scales
F. Elongated scales below the tail (subcaudal scales) are typically divided

Range: In Florida, the Midland Brown Snake occurs in two disjunct areas, one in the western panhandle and another in the eastern panhandle and northern peninsula. Outside of Florida, it occurs from Georgia west to Louisiana and north to Wisconsin.

Habitat: Commonly found near hardwood hammocks, pinelands, bogs, marshes, ponds, swamps, and sloughs.

Comments: HARMLESS (Non-Venomous). The Midland Brown Snake is a terrestrial burrower, and prefers moist environments where it is found under logs, rocks, and other debris. It feeds on slugs, snails, and earthworms, but occasionaly eats small fishes, frogs, and salamanders. It is live-bearing. Breeding occurs in both the spring and fall, with usually 5-20 young born during the summer.

Comparison with other species: The Marsh Brown Snake (Storeria dekayi limnetes) lacks both the dark spot under the eye and dark lines across the back connecting the black spots along the mid-dorsal stripe. The Florida Brown Snake (Storeria victa) has 15 dorsal scale rows at midbody, and lacks the dark lines across the back connecting the black spots along the mid-dorsal stripe. The Redbelly Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata) has a light spot under the eye, a light band across the back of neck (not head), and sometimes a red belly. The Ringneck Snake (Diadophis punctatus) is solid grayish-black, with a complete neck ring and black spotted yellow-orange belly.

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