Northern redbelly snake

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Northern redbelly snake
Redbelly Snake - Storeria occipitomaculata occipitomaculata.jpg
Storeria o. occipitomaculata
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Subfamily: Natricinae
Genus: Storeria
Species: S. occipitomaculata
Subspecies: S. o. occipitomaculata
Trinomial name
Storeria occipitomaculata occipitomaculata
(Storer, 1839)
  • Coluber occipitomaculatus
    Storer, 1839
  • Storeria occipitomaculata
    Baird & Girard, 1853
  • Ischnognathus occipitomaculatus
    Günther, 1858

The Northern redbelly snake (Storeria occipitomaculata occipitomaculata) is a nonvenomous snake in the Colubridae family, a subspecies of Storeria occipitomaculata. It is sometimes referred to as a fire snake. It is endemic to North America.

Geographic range[edit]

It is found from Saskatchewan to Nova Scotia in the north and south to Florida and Texas.


Adult and young have known dorsal colorations of solid olive-brown, tan-brown, chestnut-brown, grey-brown, grey or even black. They have three yellow spots posterior to the head shields,[1] to which the specific name occipitomaculata (meaning spotted back of the head) refers. The underside is coral-red to brick-red. Coloration is usually made up of three different shades forming a striped pattern. Like all species of the genus Storeria, redbelly snakes have keeled scales and no loreal scale.[2] Some specimens have been found with three black dots on the top of the head. Adults will grow to about 31 centimetres (12 in) in total length (body + tail).

Northern redbelly snake


They can be found in moist flowerbeds, gardens, and moist woodlands, such as borders between a forest and a wetland. They are often found under logs and rocks near a woods or forest.


They feed primarily on slugs and earthworms.


The Northern redbelly snake gives birth to live young. Each newborn measures about 7.6–11 cm (3-4¼ in.) in total length.

In captivity[edit]

They are known to live up to 4 years in captivity. Being nonvenomous, they can be safely held.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Boulenger, G.A. 1893. Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume I., Containing the Families ... Colubridæ Aglyphæ, part. London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, printers). xiii + 448 pp. + Plates I.- XXVIII. (Ischnognathus occipitomaculatus, pp. 287-288).
  2. ^ Schmidt, K.P., and D.D. Davis. 1941. Field Book of Snakes of the United States and Canada. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons. 365 pp. (Storeria occipitomaculata, pp. 229-230, Figure 74).

Further reading[edit]

  • Behler JL, King FW. 1979. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. New York: Knopf. 743 pp. ISBN 0-394-50824-6. (Storeria occipitomaculata, pp. 655-656 + Plates 501, 505-506).
  • Conant R. 1975. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, Second Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. xviii + 429 pp. ISBN 0-395-19979-4 (hardcover); ISBN 0-395-19977-8 (papeback). (Storeria occipitomaculata, p. 156 + Plate 22 + Map 127).
  • Conant R, Bridges W. 1939. What Snake Is That?: A Field Guide to the Snakes of the United States East of the Rocky Mountains. New York and London: D. Appleton-Century. Frontispiece map + 163 pp. + Plates A-C, 1-32. ("Storeria occipito-maculata", pp. 110-111 + Plate 21, Figure 61).
  • Morris PA. 1948. Boy's Book of Snakes: How to Recognize and Understand Them. A volume of the Humanizing Science Series, edited by Jaques Cattell. New York: Ronald Press. viii + 185 pp. ("The Red-Bellied Snake", Storeria o. occipitomaculata, pp. 28-29, 180).
  • Smith HM, Brodie ED Jr. 1982. Reptiles of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. New York: Golden Press. 240 pp. ISBN 0-307-13666-3. (Storeria occipitomaculata, pp. 160-161).
  • Storer, DH. 1839. Reports on the Fishes, Reptiles and Birds of Massachusetts. Boston: Commissioners on the Zoological and Botanical Survey of the State. xii + 426 pp. ("C[oluber]. occipito-maculatus", new species, p. 230).
  • Wright AH, Wright AA. 1957. Handbook of Snakes of the United States and Canada. Ithaca and London: Comstock. 1,105 pp. (in 2 volumes). (Storeria o. occipitomaculata, pp. 714-721 + Figure 210 + Map 54).
  • Zim HS, Smith HM. 1956. Reptiles and Amphibians: A Guide to Familiar American Species: A Golden Nature Guide. Revised edition. New York: Simon and Schuster. 160 pp. ("Red-bellied Snake", Storeria occipitomaculata, pp. 106, 156).