9 to 18 inches.
Eastern U.S., Maine to Texas.
Woodlands, edges of fields, vacant lots, trash heaps.
Wild - Earthworms, slugs, and insects
Zoo - Crickets
A pale ashy grayish to brown snake with a dark top of the head and white on the face. There usually is a pale stripe down the center of the back outlined with dark spots and sometimes with narrow crossbands in the stripe. There usually is a pair of dark teardrops below the eye, another dark blotch at the angle of the jaws, and sometimes a darker collar behind the head.
- Numerous specimens often den together in the winter.
- Long known as Dekay's Snake in honor of a famous 19th century naturalist.
- One of the several common, harmless snakes misnamed “ground rattler.
- One of the few snakes that will eat slugs, especially native American species.
These live-bearing snakes mate in the spring and give birth to about a dozen (3 to 30) young 75 days later. The babies are very slender and only 3 to 4 inches long.
Locally common and not protected.
The Amphibians and Reptiles of Louisiana. Harold A. Dundee & Douglas A. Rossman. City snakes: Storeria dekayi, Reptile Hobbyist, 2(1). Vince Brach.