Eastern Ratsnake Conservation - Least Concern
Scientific Name
Storeria occipitomaculata
Everywhere Except Some Areas of Southwest Virginia
Also Called
Red-bellied Snake, Fire Snake
Light Brown, Gray, or Black Body With a Red Belly
Slugs, Earthworms
Litter Size
2 - 12 per Birth
Life Span
Unknown (4 Years in Captivity)
8 - 10 Inches

Quick Links for Red Belly Snake

Red Belly Snake

Red Belly Snake Description

Red Belly Snake Appearance

This snake also known as Red Bellied Snake is a light brown, dark gray or black snake with a distinct red, or sometimes yellow belly. This snake as a row of dark dots on it’s sides, which can come together to form a solid line.

Juveniles will be uniformly black, but will have 3 yellowish dots on it’s neck.


This snake is normally between 8 to 10 inches long, however, the record length for this snake is about 16 inches. The record found in Virginia is 15 inches.

Juveniles tend to be around 3 inches long.

Red Belly Snake in Hand

As shown, the belly does not always have to be red, very rarely it can be orange or even yellow

Red Belly Snake Behavior

The Red Bellied Snake is actually very timid, and will almost never bite humans even when handled. They normally hide under logs, rocks, and piles of leaves.

These snakes tend to be active during the day and the night, but will become nocturnal in the summer months due to the heat.

They are non-venomous, and their mouth is so small that there will never be any serious harm from the bite.

It is illegal in Virginia to keep Wild Snakes as pets

Range and Habitat of The Red Belly Snake


These snakes range does not cover southwestern Virginia, however, some can appear in areas such as Roanoke. They are a very common snake in every state east of Kansas, and they go as far south as Florida and as far north as Quebec and Manitoba Canada.


Their habitat consists of forests, and the forest edges, but they are most common in plains and meadows with a lot of moisture. Unlike the Dekay’s Brown Snake, this snake does not like the urban environment and prefers to stay near forests and plains.

Red Belly Snake Map Range

These snake’s range can extend to southwestern Virginia. Although it is rare.


Their main diet are slugs, but they have been seen eating other soft insects such as earthworms.

Reproduction and Young


Mating for these snakes occurs in the spring or the late summer. If the female mates too late then she will carry the sperm until the spring to lay her eggs then.

Eggs and Young

They do not lay eggs, but rather gives birth to young live.
Juveniles are uniformly black except for 3 light colored dots on their neck. When born Juveniles tend to be 3-4 inches long.
Red Belly Snake

Juveniles are a noticeably lighter color when compared to adults.

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