Red-bellied Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata)
Red-bellied Snakes are known for their crimson-red to orange belly. Their back is quite variable ranging from dark gray to reddish-brown. The head is often darker than the rest of the body and a small white spot is found below each eye. Three light spots form an incomplete ring around the neck. This somewhat slender snake has keeled scales and a divided anal plate.
Most adult Red-bellied Snakes usually obtain 8 to 12 inches in total length.
The Red-bellied Snake ranges state-wide except parts of the Bluegrass Region (especially northern Kentucky) and the Western Coal Fields. It is most abundant in forests where it resides under logs, woody debris, rocks, and leaf litter.
Red-bellied snakes mate primarily in the spring and birth live young in late summer or early fall. Their diet consists primarily of slugs, snails and earthworms. Predators include other snakes, birds, large spiders and amphibians.
When threatened, non-venomous Red-bellied Snakes may flatten their diminutive body, release musk or play dead. Some individuals display a lip-curling behavior in which their teeth are exposed. This behavior may be a mechanism to defend themselves from predators. They rarely bite when captured by humans.