Florida Redbelly Snake
Scientific name: Storeria occipitomaculata obscura (TRAPIDO 1944)
* Currently accepted name
* 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 – COPE 1888
- Storeria occipito-maculata obscura – TRAPIDO 1944
- Storeria occipitomaculata obscura – CONANT 1958
Description: Average adult size is 8-10 inches (20.3- 25.4 cm), record is 16 inches (40.6 cm). Adults are small, thin, and grayish-brown to black. Top of head black. Faint striping down the back varies from one broad stripe, to 4 narrow stripes, to a combination of both patterns (5 stripes). Three light spots on the back of neck join together forming a band. There is a white spot under the eye on the scales of the upper lip (suprlabials). The belly normally is red, but may also be orange, yellow, or bluish-gray. 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.
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 Florida Redbelly Snake occurs from the northern peninsula to southern Georgia.
Habitat: Uncommon, found near hardwood hammocks, pinelands, bogs, marshes, ponds, swamps, and sloughs.
Comments: HARMLESS (Non-Venomous). The Florida Redbelly Snake is a terrestrial burrower, and prefers moist environments where it is found under dense vegetation, logs, rocks, and other debris.
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.