Eastern Ratsnake Conservation - Least Concern
Scientific Name
Storeria dekayi
Everywhere Except Some Areas of Southwest Virginia
Also Called
De Kay's Snake, Dekay's Brownsnake
Brown Body With a Light Stripe on the Spine Speckled With Spots
Snails, Slugs, Earthworms
Litter Size
3 - 26 Eggs per Birth
Life Span
Unknown (7 Years in Captivity)
9 - 13 Inches

Quick Links for Dekay’s Brown Snake

Dekay's Brown Snake

Dekay’s Brown Snake Description

Dekay’s Brown Snake Appearance

This snake is a brown to gray in color with a lighter center stripe one it’s spine which is bordered by black spots. it also tends to have a white or pink belly with black spots.


This snake is normally between 9 to 13 inches long, however, the record length for this snake is about 19.3 inches. The record found in Virginia is 14.9 inches.

Juveniles tend to be 3 to 4 inches long.

Dekay's Brown Snake in Hand

The light stripe can be hard to notice, it’s better to look for the dark spots on the back instead

Dekay’s Brown Snake Behavior

These snakes are solitary and secretive, and are only seen together with other snakes during mating or hibernating

During the winter they will hibernate in dens with other Brown Snakes in rock outcroppings or using burrows of small rodents.

These snakes can bite when handled, but 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 Dekay’s Brown Snake


These snakes range does not cover southwestern Virginia, although there is a pocket of them near Tazewell. They are a very common snake in every state east of Kansas, and they go as far south as Mexico (Although they do avoid Florida) and as far north as Quebec, Canada.


Their habitat consists of forests, meadows, fields, wetlands, and urban areas. In short, these snakes can be seen everywhere in Virginia. At home you can find them under leaves, bushes, stacked wood, or anywhere that can retain moisture. There have been some cases of finding them in basements or bathrooms.

Dekay's Brown Snake Map Range

Central Virginia has a pocket of these snakes as there are none north of DC and Baltimore and the Virginia and North Carolina border.


Their main diet are small insects such as worms, caterpillars, beetles, slugs, snails, crickets and other small insects.

Reproduction and Young


Mating for these snakes occur through late March to May, where the female will lay eggs in June or July.

Eggs and Young

There will generally be a clutch of 3 to 26 eggs.
Juveniles will be a lighter brown color when born, which will get darker as they mature. Their stripe down their back is much more apparent when they are juvenile which will get slightly darker when they age. They are typically 3 to 4 inches long when born.
Dekay's Brown Snake

Juveniles are a noticeably lighter color when compared to adults.

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