Squamata

Field Guide to Maryland's Snakes (Order Squamata)


Family Colubridae

Northern red-bellied Snake

Common Name:

Northern red-bellied Snake


Scientific Name:

Storeria occipitomaculata occipitomaculata

Photo of Adult Northern Red-bellied Snake courtesy of Mark Tegges
Photo of Adult Northern Red-bellied Snake courtesy of Mark Tegges​


Size:
8 - 10 inches. Record - 16 inches.

Appearance:
  • Two diagnostic features
    1. a red unmarked belly (rarely yellow or dark grey) and
    2. three cream to orange spots on the neck.
  • There is usually some black pigment on the sides and back of the head.
  • The back is a usually light brown but may be dark gray or black, and there is often a hint of two or four thin black stripes the length of the body.
  • Keeled scales.

Photo of Adult Northern Red-bellied Snake courtesy of John White 
Photo of Adult Northern Red-bellied Snake courtesy of John White


Habitats:

Any open forests, old fields, the edges of freshwater wetlands and sphagnum bogs. Found in dry to wet habitats.


How to Find:

A secretive nocturnal species. Look under 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 Red-bellied Snake courtesy of Jay Kilian 
Photo of Habitat for Northern Red-bellied Snake courtesy of Jay Kilian


Distribution in Maryland:

Irregular distribution throughout the state; uncommon on the Coastal Plain.​

Northern Red-bellied Snake - Distribution in Maryland