Rainbow Snake Conservation - Least Concern
Scientific Name
Farancia erytrogramma erytrogramma
Eastern Virginia
Also Known As
Horn Snake, Red Swamp Snake
Bluish-Black Body With 3 Red Stripes
Eels, Amphibians, Small Lizards
Litter Size
20 Eggs per Birth
Life Span
Unknown Est. 19 Years
36 - 48 Inches

Quick Links for Common Rainbow Snake

Common Rainbow Snake Description

Common Rainbow Snake Appearance

The main body of the snake is a glossy bluish-black with three red stripes. These snakes have rather short tails with a spiny tip which they use to prob prey. Adults will show yellow coloration on the head, along the sides, and on their belly.


This snake is usually between 36 to 48 inches long, however, the record length for this snake is about 66 inches.

Juveniles tend to be 7 to 9 inches long.

Rainbow Snake

It might be hard to identify the stripes as the glossy colors tend to hide them unless you see them from a certain angle

Common Rainbow Snake Behavior

These snakes are very rarely seen due to their secretive behavior. They spend most of their lives in the water hiding in vegetation and other forms of cover. However, they do come out to move locations or hunting if there’s no prey, and are seen outside the water during rainy summer nights.

These snakes are not aggressive and do not bite when held.

It is illegal in Virginia to keep Wild Snakes as pets

Range and Habitat of The Common Rainbow Snake


These snakes can be found found in Eastern Virginia, but can sometimes be found outside their range. These snakes’ range extends all the way down to Louisiana sticking close to the Atlantic Ocean, never venturing far inland. Southern Maryland is it’s furthest northern range.


These snakes prefer streams, swamps, marshes and bodies of brackish water. They prefer to hide in the vegetation within them, and sometimes burrow in the sand or mud at the edges of streams.

Rainbow Snake Map Range

This snake can be found in the waters of Eastern Virginia

Diet of Common Rainbow Snake

Rainbow Snake’s diet is primarily of Eels. Which is why they are sometimes called Eel Moccasins. These snakes do not constrict their prey, but prefers to swallow them whole.

Reproduction and Young


Not much is known about the reproductive habits of these snakes. However, they lay between 20 – 40 eggs in late June through July.

Eggs and Young

One nest is observed to be in a cavity below the surface, about 10 cm deep and 15 wide.

The juveniles when born have the same colors and markings as the adults. These juveniles tend to be 7 to 9 inches long.

Close-up of a Rainbow Snake

These snakes never bites humans.

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