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Ringneck Snake Diadophis punctatus


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Ringneck Snake, Southern subspecies
credit: Brian Gratwicke

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Alternate name: Ring-necked Snake

Family: Colubridae, Colubrid Snakes view all from this family

Description Olive, brown, bluish gray to black, broken only by a distinct yellow, red, or yellow-orange neck band. 15-17 rows of scales. Divided anal plate.

Dimensions 25.4-76.2cm. (10-30")

Subspecies Southern - half moon spots on midline of belly. Piedmont and coastal plain to New Jersey, Alabama to Florida Keys.
Key - No neck ring. Big Pine Key, Florida.
Pacific - narrow neck ring, spotted belly. San Francisco Bay, California.
Prairie - Neck ring sometimes interrupted. South Dakota, Minnesota, Arkansas, Texas to New Mexico.
Northern - Golden neck ring. Nova Scotia to Georgia, Alabama, Illinois through to Great Lakes, Wisconsin.
San Bernadino - Narrow neck ring, spotted belly. 17 rows of scales. San Diego to Los Angeles County & San Bernardino mountains.
Northwestern - wide neck ring. Washington to Sonoma County, California. Also Idaho.
Coral-bellied - Wide neck ring. Sierra Nevadas, California. Also Idaho and Washington.
Regal - no neck ring. Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas to Mexico. Also Idaho & California.
San Diego - Narrow neck ring, spotting on belly. San Bernardino County to Baja California.
Mississippi - Neck ring no continuous. Illinois, Mississippi Valley through to Gulf and Texas.
Monterey - Wide neck ring. Small spots on belly. Ventura Country to Santa Cruz County, California.

Breeding Breeds Spring/fall. Lays 1-10 whitish/yellow eggs, 25mm (1") long June-July. Incubated for 8 weeks. Mature at 2-3 years.

Habitat Moist forests, grasslands, hillsides, chaparral to desert streams.

Range Nova Scotia through to Florida Keys, along Pacific coast into Mexico.

Discussion Hides under rocks, bark and logs. Coils and displays tail and red underside when threatened. Rarely bites if picked up but will emit fouled smelling musk. Diet of earthworms, salamanders, slugs and lizards. Mildly constricts prey.