Red Snakes live in moist areas such as swamps, marshes, ponds, rivers, streams, lakes, ditches, bogs, seepages, irrigation channels, drainage ditches, culverts, and even under bridges. They prefer damp soils near water bodies and avoid dry, hot environments. Although red-bellied snakes are nocturnal, they do occasionally bask during daylight hours.
Snakes tend to hide out of sight, especially during daytime. This makes it difficult to spot them without special equipment like binoculars or spotting scopes. Most people never see one, unless it gets caught in a snare set for rodents. If you find a snake in your yard, don’t touch it. Instead, call your local wildlife rehabilitator or animal control officer.
Is Redbelly Snake Venomous?
No, RedBelly snakes are Non-venomous.
Comparison with other species
The ring-necked snake is one of the most common snakes found in North America. They are typically brownish in color and grow up to about three feet long. Their name refers to the constricting coils around their neck. These coils allow them to squeeze themselves into tight spaces. This type of snake can live anywhere there is sufficient moisture and vegetation.
Ring-necked snakes eat small animals such as lizards, frogs, mice, birds, and even insects. They like to hide under logs, rocks, and tree roots during the day. They come out at night to hunt prey. Females lay eggs every 2–3 weeks throughout the summer months. The young hatchlings usually emerge in late spring or early summer.
Red-bellied snakes are members of the same family as ring-necked snakes. They are much smaller at only six inches long. They are dark brown in color and have red bellies. Like the ring-necked snake, they prefer hiding places near water. Unlike the ring-necked, however, they do not coil around their prey. Instead, they swallow their food whole.
Rough earthsnakes are another very common snake found across the United States. They are commonly seen sunning themselves on warm days. They are mostly gray in color and measure no more than five inches in length. They feed mainly on crickets, grasshoppers, and beetles.
Assessment of risk to people and pets
Red-bellied snakes are not venomous. They do not bite unless provoked or handled roughly. Their bites are usually painless and rarely cause serious injury. Most bites occur when someone picks up a snake and accidentally squeezes it against his or her skin. If you find one of these snakes, don’t panic; just gently pick it up and put it down somewhere safe. Don’t try to move it away from where it is coiled. Just let it go wherever it wants to go.
Range in Florida
Red-bellied snakes are found throughout the northern Peninsula south to Pasco and Palm Beach Counties, and they occur westward throughout the panhandle. They inhabit coastal dunes, marshes, grasslands, pine flatwoods, scrub forests, wooded swamps, agricultural lands and urban areas.
They are active during day and night and feed primarily on small mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, fish, insects, carrion, eggs and fruit. They are most often seen basking on logs, rocks, stumps, tree trunks, fences, buildings, bridges, culverts, roadways and utility poles.
Snakes are not aggressive animals; they don’t attack unless provoked. But even if you encounter one that appears harmless, it’s best to avoid handling them. They may try to defend themselves by striking out with their fangs or by releasing foul-smelling venom from glands near their tails.
If you attempt to touch a snake, it might strike out with its fangs or spit venom at you. To protect yourself against such bites, wear gloves, long sleeves, pants, and boots. If bitten, immediately wash the area thoroughly with soap and water, apply ice for relief, and seek medical attention. Do not use tourniquet, alcohol, aspirin, or other painkillers. Get immediate emergency help.
The female sand tiger shark gives birth to live young in shallow waters along the coast of South Africa. Females typically deliver up to six pups per litter, and each pup measures just over 4 inches long (10 centimeters). They are born blind and helpless, and it takes several months for them to mature enough to swim away from mother.
The newborns are tiny and usually weigh less than 4 pounds (1.8 kilograms), making them one of the smallest vertebrate species known to reproduce. Sand tigers are found off the coasts of Namibia and South Africa, where they feed on small fish and crustaceans.
Diet and feeding behavior
Red-bellied snakes are typically active at night and feed primarily on slugs, earthworms and insects. They rarely consume live food items such as snails and insect larvae, but will sometimes do so. The feeding behavior for this snake species has not been described in detail, but it is presumed that prey are consumed alive.
Red-bellied snakes are relatively common throughout much of North America, although they are rarely encountered except by those who actively seek them out. They occur throughout most of Canada and the United States, but are absent from Alaska and Hawaii. In the continental United States, red-bellies live primarily along the Gulf Coast, extending northward into Missouri and Arkansas, westward across Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, and New Brunswick.
They are generally considered harmless, but occasionally bites do occur, especially when people handle them by grabbing their tails. There are no known cases of human fatalities due to red-bellied snakebites.
References and further reading
Ernst & Ernst. 2003.
Snakes of the United States & Canada.
Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.: 668 p.
Krysko et al. 2019.
Amphibians and Reptiles Of Florida.
University of Florida Press, Gainville, Florida: 706 p.
Snakes are often thought of as cold blooded creatures, but there are many species that don’t just survive in colder climates, they thrive in it. One such species is the Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis). This snake spends most of its life underground, hibernating in large aggregations called hibernacula. These aggregations consist of hundreds of individuals and can contain up to 10,000 individuals. Hibernacula are usually located in areas where soil temperatures remain relatively constant throughout the year. In some cases, hibernacula are even located under buildings and in cracks in sidewalks.
When the weather warms up, the snakes emerge from their hibernation and begin hunting for food. They feed mainly on earthworms, insects, and small rodents, although larger prey items like frogs, birds, and lizards are sometimes consumed.
In addition to being able to withstand extreme cold temperatures, garter snakes are also excellent swimmers and divers. They spend much of their lives underwater and use their long, slender bodies to maneuver around obstacles while searching for food. Some species are even known to dive down into water pipes to find prey.
Natural History Notes
The rarest type of snake is one that gives birth to live young. These snakes are called vipers because they give birth to live young during June through September. They are found throughout North America and parts of Asia. Their skin color ranges from brownish gray to black. Some species, like rattlesnakes, have a yellow stripe down the middle of their body.
These snakes rarely bite people unless provoked. If you do come into contact with one, it will most likely release some form of venom. A few cases of envenomation have been reported. However, the majority of bites occur while hunting for food.