Northern Redbelly Snake

NON-VENOMOUS

Storeria occipitomaculata
Storeria occipitomaculata
 

Scientific name: Storeria occipitomaculata occipitomaculata (STORER 1839)
* Currently accepted name

Synonym:
* scientific names used through time

  • Coluber occipito-maculatus – STORER 1839
  • Coluber venustus – HALLOWELL 1848
  • Storeria occipito-maculata – BAIRD & GIRARD 1853
  • Ischnognathus occipitomaculatus – GÜNTHER 1858
  • Storeria occipitomaculata – STEJNEGER & BARBOUR 1939
  • Storeria occipito-maculata occipito-maculata – TRAPIDO 1944
  • Storeria occipitomaculata occipitomaculata – CONANT 1958

Description: Average adult size is 8-16 inches (20.3- 40.6 cm). Adults are small, thin, and grayish-brown to black. Top of head not black. Faint striping down the back varies from one broad stripe, to 4 or 5 narrow stripes. There are three light spots on the back of neck. There is a white spot under the eye on the scales of the upper lip. The belly normally is red, but may also be orange or yellow. The scales are keeled and there are 15 dorsal scale rows at midbody. The pupil is round. Juveniles are grayish with a light band across back of neck.

Storeria occipitomaculata obscura

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 Northern Redbelly Snake occurs throughout the panhandle. Outside of Florida, it is found from central Georgia west to eastern Texas and north to Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan, Canada.

Habitat: Moist woodlands on hilly slopes and mountains.

Storeria occipitomaculata
Storeria occipitomaculata
Storeria occipitomaculata
 

Comments: HARMLESS (Non-Venomous). It feeds on small slugs, insects, and earthworms. It is live-bearing. Up to 23 young, 2.5-4 inches (6.3-10.1 cm) in length, are born from June-September.

Comparison with other species: The Marsh Brown Snake (Storeria dekayi limnetes) has a light band across the back of neck (not head). The Midland Brown Snake (Storeria dekayi wrightorum) has a dark spot under the eye, a light band across the back of neck (not head), and may have dark lines across the back connecting the black spots along the mid–dorsal stripe. The Florida Brown Snake (Storeria victa) has a dark spot under the eye, and a light band across the back of neck (not head). The Ringneck Snake (Diadophis punctatus) is solid grayish-black, with a complete neck ring and black spotted yellow-orange belly.