Squamata

Field Guide to Maryland's Snakes (Order Squamata)


Family Colubridae

Northern Brownsnake

Common Name:

Northern Brownsnake


Scientific Name:

Storeria dekayi dekayi

 

Illustration of Juvenile Northern Brownsnake
Photo of Adult Northern Brownsnake courtesy of Scott A. Smith
Photo of Adult Northern Brownsnake courtesy of Scott A. Smith

 


Size:
9 - 13 inches. Record - 19⅜ inches.

Appearance:
  • Two parallel rows of black spots down a yellowish-brown, gray, dark brown or reddish brown back.
  • The area between the spots is lighter than the rest of the body, almost forming a stripe.
  • A thin dark line extends from the back of the head behind the eye to the base of the jaw.
  • Keeled scales.
  • Belly cream to gray with tiny dark dots at the edges.
  • Young have a yellow collar around the neck.
Photo of Adult Northern Brownsnake courtesy of John White
Photo of Adult Northern Brownsnake courtesy of John White
Photo of Juvenile Northern Brownsnake courtesy of  John White
Photo of Juvenile Northern Brownsnake courtesy of John White

Habitats:

Any type of moist (mesic) woods, grasslands, bogs, swamps, freshwater marshes, old fields, urban parks and backyards.


How to Find:

A secretive nocturnal species. Look under any coarse woody debris and trash on field-woodland and wetland edges. This is a non-venomous species that is gentle when handled.

Photo of Habitat for Northern Brownsnake courtesy of Andy Becker
Photo of Habitat for Northern Brownsnake courtesy of Andy Becker

Distribution in Maryland:

Found throughout Maryland including urban areas.​

 

Northern Brownsnake - Distribution in Maryland