Western Ribbonsnake Thamnophis proximus - Special Concern

Adult from Newton County
Neonate from Lake County

Identification: This colorful, striped snake is most easily identified by its bright orange dorsal stripe and long tail. Most snakes are dark brown to black in color with white to yellow lateral stripes and a white spot on top of the head. Though individuals may rarely exceed four feet (1.2 m), most adult western ribbonsnakes are one to two feet (40 - 70 cm) long.

Similar Species: This snake's orange dorsal stripe and distinct white spot on the head (parietal spot) differentiate it from its close relative, the eastern ribbonsnake. Both eastern gartersnakes and plains gartersnakes have much shorter tails and are, overall, more robust.

Distribution: Western ribbonsnakes are known from the northwestern corner of the state and from scattered, older records elsewhere. Like eastern ribbonsnakes, they frequent wetlands and aquatic environs. However, western ribbonsnakes are more common in sandy areas and may stray farther from water.

Distribution Map
Distribution map of Western Ribbonsnake (Thamnophis proximus)
Photographs