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Ringneck Snakes

by Jacob Crider
Have you ever seen a Ringneck Snake?
Northern Ringneck Snakes (Diadophis punctatus edwardsii) are a small species of colubrid snake native to the Eastern United States. Ringneck snakes have a bright yellow belly and neck ring, and slate gray dorsal scales on their back. They are one of our smallest snakes in the state, and usually are around 12-18 inches long as adults. Dwelling in forests, hillsides, and rocky areas, these snakes enjoy hiding under logs and rocks to hunt for invertebrates, salamanders, and other small animals.
Ringneck Snakes are an example of a fossorial animal, meaning they spend most of their life underneath cover and underground to avoid predation and to find prey. To hunt, they use rear fangs towards the back of their mouths to inject a mild venom, subduing small prey. Human snake bites from Ringneck snakes are very rare, and the venom is not strong enough pose any serious threats to people. Ringneck snakes that are seen in the open will often flee to cover quickly when spotted, since they are preyed upon by hawks, raccoons, foxes, and other animals in the forest.
Next time you are hiking at CMNP, take a trek through the valley to hopefully spot one of these cool and secretive snakes. They like hanging out near the waterfall and along steep slopes with fallen trees and limestone to hide under.
 Join us on June 21st from 5:30-7:30pm for a Reptiles & Amphibians Hike with Jacob Crider:…/reptiles-and…/

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