Northern Ring-necked Snake

Northern Ring-necked Snake by Ivan Tortuga (public domain)

The northern ring-necked snake is a small thin snake. It has a dark slate gray body with a yellow ring around its neck. Its belly is yellow to orange. The head is flattened and the smooth scales give it a glossy appearance. It can be 9 to 25 inches long.

The northern ring-necked snake is found in Nova Scotia. Its range includes the Appalchian Mountains south to northern Georgia and northeastern Alalbama, west to southeastern Illinois and in the Great lakes region through Wisconsin. Other subspecies exist with ranges elsewhere in the US. The northern ring-necked snake can be found throughout Connecticut.

Ring-necked snakes live in habitats from sandy barrens, to gardens, to meadows and forests.They sometimes get into basements. They like to stay under cover and are found under stones, bark or trash.

These snakes breed in the spring. Females lay eggs in June or July that hatch in late August or September. The mothers do not care for their eggs or young.

Northern ring-necked snakes hibernate beginning in late September or October. They use old stone foundations or abandoned woodchuck, chipmunk or vole burrows for dens. They are usually more nocturnal but may be day-active in the spring and fall.

Northen ring-necked snakes eat mostly earthworms and small salamanders.

Small and secretive, northern ring-necked snakes are docile. If handled they rarely bite and instead try to escape through your fingers. They may produce musk. They are harmless little snakes, best left in peace.

The northern ring-necked snake is often confused with young dekay's brownsnakes.