Field Guide to Maryland's Snakes (Order Squamata)


Eastern Ribbonsnake (Thamnophis sauritus)

Photo of Eastern Ribbonsnake courtesy of John White
Photo of Eatern Ribbon Snake courtesy of John White


Former Name:
Common Ribbonsnake​

Size:
18 - 26 inches. Record - 38 inches.

Appearance:
  • A very slim snake with a distinctively narrow delicate neck, brown-capped head and very long tail.
  • Three bright yellow or cream stripes run the length of the brown to nearly black body.
  • The middle or centerline stripe may be greenish.
  • The belly is an unmarked greenish to blue-gray.
  • Scales keeled.

Close-up Photo of Eastern Ribbonsnake - courtesy of John White
Close-up Photo of Eastern Ribbon Snake
courtesy of John White


Habitats:

This is a semi-aquatic species, typically found in or near streams, ponds, bogs, swamps, fresh and brackish marshes, and woodlands adjacent to wetlands.


How to Find:

Walk wetland edges. Look for them on the ground or on trees, bushes or tall grasses overhanging the water. This agile snake will flee rapidly into thick shoreline vegetation, so you have to be quick! Non-venomous, but difficult to handle due to its nervous nature.

Photo of Habitat for Eastern Ribbonsnake - courtesy of Tony Prochaska
Photo of Habitat for
Eastern Ribbonsnake
courtesy of Tony Prochaska


Distribution in Maryland:

Found statewide but less common in western Maryland.​

Eastern Ribbonsnake - Distribution in Maryland