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Reptiles and Amphibians of North Dakota

Redbelly Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata)

species distribution map JPG -- Species Photo

Redbelly snakes are North Dakota's smallest snakes, as they seldom exceed 12 inches in length. Their name is appropriate as their bellies have a bright red to salmon color. These snakes are seldom seen due to their small size, shyness, and nocturnal habits. Redbelly snakes vary from light to dark brown, gray or chestnut. This coloration also makes the redbelly snakes hard to see in their habitat. They live in or around woodlands, and prefer the margins of woodlands for foraging. They hide during the day under stones, boards, rotten logs, or other forest cover and come out toward evening. Their diet is very specific. They will feed on small earthworms and beetle larvae, but prefer slugs.

These small snakes hibernate in ant mounds during the winter. They mate in the spring and the females give birth to one to 21 young in a litter.

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