Kirtland's Snake Clonophis kirtlandii - Endangered

Gravid Female from Ripley County
Neonate from Marion County

Identification: This small snake is rather nondescript when viewed from above, but its underbelly has a brilliant red center lined with two rows of dark spots. They range in color from brown to rusty red and have large black blotches down the length of their body. There is a distinctive black hood on the head extending to just above the mouth. Most adults grow to around a foot (30 cm) long but some may approach two feet (60 cm) in length.

Similar Species: This is the only blotched snake with a black hood in Indiana and only one of two small snakes with a red belly. The red-bellied snake lacks any black spots lining the red belly.

Distribution: Kirtland's snakes are found throughout Indiana, but are only locally abundant. They are apparently rare or absent throughout much of southwestern Indiana and extremely localized in the northern half of the state. They inhabit relatively flat, seasonally wet areas with abundant crayfish burrows and are common in the Muscatatuck lowlands and upland flatwoods of southeastern Indiana.

Shrubland in Monroe County

Distribution Map
Distribution map of Kirtland's Snake (Clonophis kirtlandii)
Photographs