Name: Ring-necked Snake (Diadophis punctatus)
Order: Snakes (Squamata)
Family: Common Snakes (Colubridae)
What they look like
- Ring-necked snakes can usually be distinguished by an orange or yellow band around their neck (only a few subspecies do not have these bands).
- Their underside is also brightly orange and yellow colored. Their upper side ranges from grey to black, with their head usually having the darkest color.
- They are small smooth slender snakes with an average adult length of 10 to 15 inches, females generally larger.
Where they live
- View a map of where they live.
- Ring-necked snakes can be found throughout the United States (especially along the eastern coast), southeastern Canada, and central Mexico.
- Can adapt to many habitats but prefer to live in wooded areas.
- Most of their time is spent hiding underground or under rocks, logs, or leaf debris.
What they eat
- Most ring-necked snakes primarily feed on salamanders and earthworms.
- Can also eat some invertebrates, lizards, amphibians, and other small snakes.
- In June or July, females search under rocks or rotted logs for loose soil on which to lay their eggs.
- They lay 3 to 10 long white eggs, which will hatch around 8 weeks later.
Cool Biology Facts
- When threatened by a predator, ring-necked snakes will coil their tail and display their bright underside.
- Ring-necked snakes are so common that they can reach very high densities in some areas; a study by Henry Fitch estimated that, in Kansas, ring-necked snake densities could be as high as 700 to 1,800 snakes per hectare (2.47 acres)!
- Ring-necked snakes are considered “least concern” and are common in nearly all of their range.
- View their status on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.