Eastern Ribbon Snake
Thamnophis sauritus

Photo by John MacGregor


Description: Ribbon snakes are slender, fast-moving snakes that usually live near water. The back of the ribbon snake is brown to black with three light stripes. This snake looks similar to its cousin the eastern garter snake; however, unlike garter snakes, ribbon snakes do not have dark markings between their lip (labial) scales. They have rough (keeled) scales and their white or yellowish belly is generally unmarked.

Feeding/Diet: They usually feed on small frogs and salamanders.

Habitat/Range: Ribbon snakes can be found near canals, streams, ponds, and marshes. They are excellent swimmers and are most active during the daytime.

Reproduction: Ribbon snakes give birth to 5–16 babies in late summer. Baby ribbon snakes look just like tiny versions of the adults.

Miscellaneous: Ribbon snakes may bite when captured and will typically thrash around in one’s hand, spraying their captor with musk.

Back to Snakes of North Carolina
Back to Herps of North Carolina

The shaded region represents the range of the eastern ribbon snake in North Carolina.

Photo by JD Willson

A newborn ribbon snake.
Photo by JD Willson

Photo by JD Willson

Photo by John MacGregor Photo by JD Willson

This website created by: J. Willson, Y. Kornilev, W. Anderson, G. Connette and E. Eskew.
For comments or questions contact M. Dorcas: midorcas@davidson.edu.
M. Dorcas homepage: http://bio.davidson.edu/dorcas
Davidson College, Davidson, North Carolina 28035-1719.

Text and maps from: Dorcas, M. E. 2004. A Guide to the Snakes of North Carolina. Davidson College - Herpetology Laboratory, Davidson, NC. – Copyright by Michael E. Dorcas.

Partial Funding for this website provided by a Associate Colleges of the South, National Science Foundation, and Duke Energy.