Key Ringneck Snake



Scientific name: Diadophis punctatus acricus (PAULSON 1966)
* Currently accepted name

* scientific names used through time

  • Coluber punctatus – LINNAEUS 1766
  • Natrix punctatus – MERREM 1820
  • Homalosoma punctata – WAGLER 1830
  • Calamaria punctata – SCHLEGEL 1837
  • Ablabes punctatus – DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854
  • Diadophis punctatus acricus – PAULSON 1966
  • Diadophis punctatus – DUMÉRIL, STEBBINS 1985

Description: Average adult size is 6 inches (15.2 cm). Adults are small and slender-bodied with a slate gray body. Unlike other ringneck snakes, the ring normally present around the neck is indistinct or completely absent. The belly is bright orangish-yellow, fading to orange-red beneath the tail. There is a single row of half-moon spots down the center on the belly. The scales are smooth, and there are 15-17 dorsal scale rows at midbody. The pupil is round. Juvenile color is similar to that of the adult.


A. Top of the head (notice the large plate-like scales on the top of the head)
B. Smooth scales
C. Elongated scales below the tail (subcaudal scales) are typically divided
D. Front (face view) of the head
E. Side of the head

Range: It is found only on the Lower Florida Keys including Big Pine Key, Little Torch Key, and Middle Torch Key. It is not found outside of Florida. Due to its very small range it is listed as a Threatened Species in the state of Florida.

Habitat: Rare, but occurs mainly in pinelands, tropical hardwood hammocks, and around limestone outcroppings.

Comments: HARMLESS (Non-Venomous) and seldom bites. Little is known about the Key Ringneck Snake, but it is sometimes seen under limestone rocks and boards, and crossing roads at night.

It feeds on small frogs and tadpoles, earthworms, slugs, anoles, geckos, and snakes.

Reproduction is thought to be similar to the southern ringneck snake.

Comparison with other species: The Florida Brown Snake (Storeria victa) has a light colored stripe down its back, flecking on its sides, and a distinct brown spot under the eye.