Alternate name: Red-bellied Mud Snake
Family: Colubridae, Colubrid Snakes view all from this family
Description Smooth, glossy, black back scales, with a red underside that extends up the sides to form bars of reddish-pink. Cylindrical body, short tail with sharp spine on end.
Dimensions 96.5-205.5cm. (38-81")
Subspecies Eastern - Pointed red bars, 53+. Virginia, Florida to Alabama.
Western - 52+ rounded red bars. Alabama, Texas, Mississippi Valley to Illinois.
Breeding Breeds in spring, lays eggs July/August. 11-104 eggs in a clutch laid in earth cavity. Hatch after 7-8 weeks, August/September. 16-24cm (6 1/4-9 1/2") long when hatched.
Habitat Swmaps, lake margins, ponds, muddy streams and floodplains with rotting logs.
Range Virginia, Florida, Texas, Illinois, Alabama and Mississippi Valley.
Discussion Active during the night, especially during rainfall. Will poke with spine on tail if caught but rarely bites and spine is harmless. Sirens and amphiumas form main diet. Lives longer than 18 years.