Ribbon Snake Conservation - Least Concern
Scientific Name
Thamnophis saurita saurita
All of Virginia
Also Called
Riband Snake, Striped Racer
Brown, Nearly Black body with 3 bright yellow or cream stripes
Amphibians and Small Fish
Litter Size
3 - 26 Live Snakes per Birth
Life Span
Unknown (10 - 11 Years in Captivity)
18 - 26 Inches

Quick Links for Common Ribbon Snake

Common Ribbon Snake

Common Ribbon Snake Description

Common Ribbon Snake Appearance

This snake is a brown to nearly black snake with 3 bright yellow to cream stripes. They will have a greenish to a bluish-gray belly, it may seem white. This snake has a white dot next to it’s eye, which helps in telling it apart from the Garter Snake.
Juveniles will have the same pattern as adults, but they will be brown with bright yellow or white stripes.


This snake is normally between 18 to 26 inches long, however, the record length for this snake is about 38.2 inches long, which was found here in Virginia.

Juveniles tend to be more than 6 – 8 inches long.

Common Ribbon Snake on a Rock

Notice the white dots near the eyes. The Garter Snake does not have them.

Common Ribbonsnake Behavior

These snakes are secretive and prefers not to be seen by any potential threats. As such, finding these snakes can be rather rare.

These snakes tend to be active during the evening, and during the day they can be found under rocks and debris.

These snakes do not bite when handled, and will attempt to flee into the sand if you try to capture it.

It is illegal in Virginia to keep Wild Snakes as pets

Range and Habitat of The Common Ribbon Snake


These snakes can be found everywhere in Virginia, however specimens haven’t been found in every county. But they cover a large enough range that it is safe to say they are everywhere in Virginia.

In the rest of the United States, they can be found all throughout the south. But they seem to avoid or at least appear in much smaller numbers in the Appalachian Mountains.


The Ribbonsnake is semi-aquatic and is seen in many habitats. They can be found anywhere there is water such as rivers, marshes, swamps, ditches, and floodplains. They can be seen on branches, bushes, or grasses next to water.

Common Ribbonsnake Map Range

They will appear in smaller numbers in the mountains


They like to eat amphibians and fish, however they also eat beetles, larvae, and spiders.

Reproduction and Young


Mating for these snakes occurs in April and May. And then will lay their eggs in late July and September.

Eggs and Young

Juveniles will are brown with bright yellow and white stripes. As they get older the brown color will get darker as they get older.
Common Ribbonsnake

These snakes are very docile, and will not bite if handled.

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