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Northern Scarlet Snake Cemophora coccinea copei


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Family: Colubridae, Colubrid Snakes view all from this family

Description 14-32 1/2" (35.6-82.8 cm). From above appears to have reddish, yellowish, and black bands, similar to venomous Coral Snake, but in Scarlet Snake bands are only on top and sides and do not encircle body. Belly plain white or yellow. Snout pointed and red (black in Coral Snake); 1st black band touches parietals. 6 upper lip scales. Anal plate single. Scales smooth, in 19 rows.

Habitat Hardwood, mixed, or pine forest and adjacent open areas with sandy or loamy well-drained soils.

Range S. New Jersey to n. Florida west to e. Oklahoma and e. Texas; north to Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri.

Discussion The Scarlet Snake is a Coral Snake mimic. The Scarlet's wide red bands are separated by much narrower black-bordered yellow bands. The Coral Snake has wide red and wide black bands separated by narrow yellow bands. A folk saying goes, "Red touch yellow, kill a fellow; red touch black, friend of Jack."