Red belly SnakeStoreria occipitomaculata





Classification


Domain
Eukariote
Kingdom
Animalia, animals
Phylum
Chordata, chordates
Subphylum
Vertebrata, vertebrates
Class
Reptilia
Order
Squamata
Family
Colubridae
Genus
Storeria
Species
S. occipitomaculata (Red belly Snake)
Ranges of Red Belly Snake
Ranges of Red Belly Snake
Red Belly Snake
Red Belly Snake


















Description



The Storeria occipitomaculata is a very small snake ranging from 20.3 cm to 40.6 cm (8-16 in) when fully grown. They are usually mud brown to reddish brown (sometimes gray and very rarely black) with 4 faint, dark dorsal stripes. There is often a lighter middorsal stripe. Most of the time their belly is a bright red, but has been noted as a light orange, yellow, and pink. At birth they are 7-11 cm, and do not require parental care from then on.


Habitat



Red bellied snakes prefer cool, moist environments, and are plentiful in mixed woodlands. They can be found in creek bottom lands bogs, and river bays, or other places where worms, slugs, and snails are found.


Predators and Prey



The Red belly Snake eats invertebrates such as snails, slugs, earthworms and sometimes insect larvae, pill bugs and young salamanders. It is eaten by American crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos), milk snakes (Lampropeltis triangulum), raccoons (Procyon lotor), shrews (Soricidae), hawks (Accipitridae), thirteen-lined ground squirrels (Spermophilus tridecemlineatus), and domestic cats (Felis silvestris).


Native or Invasive



From my research I can say that the Red belly snake is native to Vermont. It is found very commonly in eastern United States, as well as eastern Canada. They’re not endangered in any way, and can be found in human inhabited places.

Form vs. Function



One of it’s forms is a bright red belly, the function of this is to startle predators so they can escape in the few seconds they have to live. Another form is the dull brown of its scales, this functions as a camouflage so they are less visible to predators.


Interesting Facts


The red bellied snakes are most often found under debris such as discarded wood, metal, and trash cans. This waste can often make it easier to find the snakes. When these snakes migrate from their wintering sites to their summer feeding area (or vice versa) and have to cross a road, many of the snakes are killed. These snakes on average live to be about 4 years in captivity, but it’s not well known how long they live in the wild. Another form of the red belly snake is “lip curling”, they do this when threatened. They flick their tongue and curl their lips upward to show their teeth. This serves as a threatening gesture towards the prey, though they are nonvenomous snakes. Like other snakes, they can release a musky-smelling substance from the cloaca. A few red-bellies will ,when threatened, stiffen their bodies and roll onto their backs, a behavior that could be interpreted as playing dead, but may as well be a type of seizure brought on by stress.


Resources






Steen, David A. "Northern Red-bellied Snake." Outdoor Alabama. Alabama Department of Conservation and Resources, n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2012. <http://www.outdooralabama.com/watchable-wildlife/what/Reptiles/Snakes/nrbs.cfm>.



Northern Red Bellied Snake Nature Walks with Mark Fraser, retrieved November 21 from:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIUM-DBMDRc


Harding, Jim. "Northern Red-Bellied Snake." Michigan Society of Herpetologists. Michigan Society of Herpetologists, n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2012. <http://www.michherp.org/nredbellys.html>.


"Reptiles and Amphibians of Minnesota: Redbelly Snake: Minnesota DNR." Reptiles and Amphibians of Minnesota: Redbelly Snake: Minnesota DNR. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2012. <http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/reptiles_amphibians/snakes_turtles/redbellysnake.html>.


Overduijn, Kelly. "Redbellied Snake (Storeria Occipitomaculata)." Savannah River Ecology Laboratory. Ed. J.D. Willson. Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2012. <http://srelherp.uga.edu/snakes/stoocc.htm>.


Gates, M. "Animal Diversity Web." ADW: Storeria Occipitomaculata: INFORMATION. University of Michigan, n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2012. <http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Storeria_occipitomaculata/>.