Scarletsnake (Cemophora coccinea)
Scarletsnakes are slender to moderate sized snakes with red, black and yellow bands. The belly is white lacking any banding. The nose is red and quite pointed. This snake has smooth scales and a single anal plate.
Adult Scarletsnakes are typically 20 inches in total length.
Scarletsnakes are found in western and central Kentucky. Populations are not known from the Inner Bluegrass Region, parts of the western coalfields and all of eastern Kentucky. These snakes prefer forested areas with sandy soil and woody debris. Scarletsnakes spend the majority of their time hidden among forest debris or underground.
Scarletsnakes lay eggs in summer, and babies emerge from underground burrows in late summer or early fall. These snakes primarily consume the eggs of other reptiles, which they search for on warm, summer nights. Scarletsnakes have large posterior teeth that are used to slice open the eggs. Lizards, snakes and frogs are also eaten.
Scarletsnakes are primarily nocturnal, and are most often seen from late May through August. They are part of the group of snakes that mimic the venomous coral snake (which does not occur in Kentucky).