The red belly snake is a common species found throughout North America. Also known as the eastern red belly snake, this species is easily recognizable thanks to its vibrant red belly and dark-colored back. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at this fascinating snake and provide a guide on how to identify, care for, and appreciate this beautiful reptile.
The red belly snake is a small, slender snake that can grow up to 15 inches in length. It has a dark brown, gray, or black back with a distinctive red or orange belly. The snake’s head is small and rounded, and its eyes are large and dark. The red belly snake has no dorsal stripe, and its scales are smooth and shiny.
Habitat and Range
Red belly snakes can be found throughout much of the eastern United States, from Massachusetts to Florida and as far west as Kansas and Nebraska. They prefer habitats with moist soils, such as woodlands, fields, and wetlands. These snakes are often found near streams and other bodies of water, and they are excellent swimmers.
Behavior and Diet
Red belly snakes are docile, non-venomous snakes that are not harmful to humans or pets. They are shy and secretive, spending much of their time hiding under logs, rocks, or leaf litter. When threatened, they will try to escape, but if cornered, they may bite. However, their bite is not dangerous, and it is not known to cause any significant harm.
These snakes are carnivores, and they primarily feed on small invertebrates such as earthworms, slugs, and insects. They may also eat small frogs or other small snakes. Because of their small size, red belly snakes are also preyed upon by a variety of animals, including birds of prey, raccoons, and other snakes.
Caring for Red Belly Snakes
If you’re considering keeping a red belly snake as a pet, there are a few things you should know. These snakes are relatively easy to care for, but they do require certain conditions to thrive. Here are some tips for caring for a red belly snake:
Housing: Red belly snakes require a terrarium or enclosure that is at least 10 gallons in size. The enclosure should be equipped with a hiding place, a water dish, and a substrate that mimics the snake’s natural habitat (such as coconut fiber or bark).
Temperature and Lighting: Red belly snakes require a temperature range of 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit, with a basking spot that reaches 90 degrees Fahrenheit. They also need UVB lighting to aid in digestion and calcium metabolism.
Diet: Red belly snakes should be fed small prey items such as crickets, mealworms, and earthworms. Adult snakes may also eat small mice. It is essential not to overfeed your snake, as it can lead to obesity and other health issues.
Interaction: Red belly snakes are not social animals and do not require interaction with humans. However, they can be handled occasionally if done so gently and carefully.
Appreciating Red Belly Snakes
The red belly snake may not be as well-known or as popular as some other snake species, but it is undoubtedly a beautiful and fascinating animal. Its unique coloring and docile nature make it an excellent snake for beginner herpetologists and snake enthusiasts. If you ever have the opportunity to see a red belly snake in the wild, take a moment to appreciate its beauty and observe its behavior. With its striking red belly and impressive swimming abilities, it’s a sight to behold.