Dekay’s Brownsnakes have a brown to grayish-brown dorsum. A pale stripe runs along the middle of the back; often this stripe is bordered by small, black spots. Their belly is cream colored.  Many individuals have a pair of large pale spots on the neck.  Brownsnakes have keeled scales and a divided anal plate. 


Dekay’s Brownsnakes are small. Adults average approximately 13 inches in total length.

Habitat / Range: 

Dekay’s Brownsnakes are found throughout most of Kentucky.  They are notably absent in the Inner Bluegrass Region and parts of the Cumberland Plateau. These snakes are habitat generalists.  They can be found in woodlands, agricultural lands, around wetlands, and in suburban areas.  They are usually found under rocks and logs, within leaf litter and/or in gardens.  

Natural History: 

Brownsnakes mate in spring and give birth to live young in late summer or early fall. They are nocturnal snakes that eat earthworms, snails and slugs.  They will also eat small salamanders, insect larvae, and beetles. Mammals, birds, snakes and some amphibians are known to consume Dekay’s Brownsnakes. 

Notes / Miscellaneous: 

Brownsnakes are often encountered in suburban gardens and yards.  Unfortunately, many are mistaken for Copperheads and killed.  Brownsnakes almost never bite, but they will release musk from their anal glands as a defense. 

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