Red-bellied Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata) - Ohio Herp Atlas

Red-bellied Snake Storeria occipitomaculata

The Northern Red-bellied is one of the smallest snakes in Ohio. A uniformly scarlet or red-orange belly and three usually well defined light blotches immediately behind the head are the most distinctive characteristics. Many specimens of this snake have a distinct purple tinge to the normal brown color and all black (melanistic) individuals are not uncommon in some populations. This snake may be found in sphagnum bogs, wet meadows, or swamp forests, as well as dry, open wooded areas in the eastern half of the state. Very secretive, the Northern Red-bellied snake spends most of its life hidden beneath boards, rotting logs, brush piles, and leaves, where it seeks out slugs, earthworms, and beetle larvae. Like its close relative the Northern Brownsnake, it makes no attempt to bite, even when first captured. Some individuals may curl their upper “lip” outward showing off their tiny teeth, a behavior that is not fully understood by biologists. LENGTH: 8”–10”

Text courtesy of the Ohio Division of Wildlife:

Distribution Map
Distribution of the Red-bellied Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata)
Red-bellied Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata)
Red-bellied Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata)