Northern Ringneck Snake

Diadophis punctatus edwardsii

The Northern Ringneck Snake is a smallish snake, only growing up to two feet long. It is bluish-black in color, with a yellow or red ring around its neck, and a matching belly. This snake has a large, flat head.

Northern Ringneck Snakes live just about anywhere, including forests, grassy places, and streamsides.

They usually hide under logs, rocks, leaf litter, or matted plants.

They are nocturnal, so they are mostly seen at night.

Copyright, J.D. Willson

Ringneck snakes are sociable, which means they are often found hiding together. They also sometimes lay eggs in the same places. Northern Ringneck Snakes mate in the Spring and lay eggs in June and July. Eggs are whitish, and about one inch long. Each female lays up to ten eggs at a time.

Eggs hatch in about two months. Young ringnecks are four inches long when they are born.

Northern Ringneck Snakes can live up to 20 years.

These snakes eat a wide variety of animals including: earthworms, insects, slugs, small snakes, lizards, frogs, salamanders, ants, other arthropods, and newborn rodents.

They swallow small creatures whole. Large creatures they suffocate by constriction (wrapping their bodies around their prey and squeezing).

They do all of their hunting at night.

Copyright, J.D. Willson

Northern Ringneck Snakes also have many predators, including: Raccoon, Virginia Opossum, Striped Skunk, Least Shrew, American Toad, hawks, owls, Bullfrog, and other snakes.

Newly hatched ringnecks are even eaten by large spiders and centipedes.

West Virginia Reptiles and Amphibians

West Virginia Reptiles and Amphibians

When threatened, Northern Ringneck Snakes have a variety of defenses.

First, a ringneck will coil its tail and show the bright underside of its belly to try to frighten its attacker.

Next, it will release a foul-smelling odor.

If these tricks don't work the Northern Ringneck Snake will bite savagely.

Relationships in Nature:

PREY
PREDATORS
SHELTER
OTHER

Earthworm

Raccoon

Virginia Creeper

Great Crested Flycatcher SP

Five-lined Skink

Striped Skunk

Bracken Fern

Tufted Titmouse SP

Spring Peeper

Virginia Opossum

Poison Ivy

Red-backed Salamander

Least Shrew

Red Clover

Eastern Newt

American Toad

Common Reed

Wood Frog

Red-tailed Hawk

Tussock Sedge

Leopard Slug

Barred Owl

Switchgrass

Meadow Vole

Bullfrog

Smooth Crabgrass

White-footed Mouse

Copperhead

Japanese Honeysuckle

Least Shrew

Black Rat Snake

Running Cedar

Black Carpenter Ant

Rabid Wolf Spider

Virginia Rose

Rabid Wolf Spider

Great Horned Owl

Garden Centipede

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Copperhead

Eastern Hognose Snake

Common Black Ground Beetle

Patent-leather Beetle

Field Cricket

Differential Grasshopper

Painted Lady

Spined Micrathena

Relationship to Humans:

Northern Ringneck Snakes are extremely helpful to people. They eat many pests, including slugs, ants, and mice. If threatened, ringneck snakes will bite; however, they rarely break the skin on humans.

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

KINGDOM
Animal
PHYLUM
Chordate
CLASS
Reptile
ORDER
Squamata
FAMILY
Colubridae
GENUS
Diadophis
SPECIES
Diadophis punctatus edwardsii

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