Eastern Ribbon Snake
WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY – DINNER ISLAND RANCH WMA, FL
Photograph is of an Eastern Ribbon Snake using a Nikon D80 with a Tamron 28-300mm lens. The subject was shot in Dinner Island Ranch WMA in Felda, Florida.
The Eastern Ribbon Snake (Thamnophis sauritus sauritus) is a subspecies of ribbon snake found in the northeastern United States.
Some species that are similar to the Eastern Ribbon Snake are the Western Ribbon Snake, Common Gartersnake, Plains Gartersnake, and the Butler Garter Snake.
Eastern Ribbon Snake Trivia:
The Eastern Ribbon Snake gets its name from its very thin body. At maturity it can be anywhere from 18 to 86 cm in length. It is a slender black snake with a yellow midback stripe and one on each side. A brown stripe that is 1-2 rows of scales extends onto the sides of the belly. The rest of the belly is a greenish white color. They also have two rows of black spots between the back and side stripes. It also has a long tail that is about a third of the length of its body. The labial scales around the mouth of the snake are unmarked and uniformly bright yellow or white. A white or light yellow bar borders the front of their eyes. Juveniles are colored like adults. Here are some aspects of the Eastern Ribbon Snake that make it different from a close relative, the Garter Snake. The Eastern Ribbon Snake has a much thinner body than a Garter Snake. It also has a tail that makes up about one third of its body length. This snake has stripes on the third and fourth scale rows. The Eastern Ribbon Snake has pure white lips and a mark of White color in front of its eyes. These characteristics make it easy to tell the difference between the snakes. Eastern Ribbon Snake has a dot in front of its eye, whereas the Garter Snake does not. Thamnophis Sauritus Sauritus likes to stay active year around. However, when the colder months set in the snakes may be forced to hibernate. It typically hibernates in ant mounds, vole tunnels, crayfish burrows, muskrat lodges, and bank burrows. Ribbon Snakes rarely bite when handled but they do produce a foul musk from their anal glands when they feel threatened.
Reproduction and Care of the Young
Reproduction in Eastern Ribbon Snakes takes place after they emerge from hibernation in the spring time, in April or May. Mating occasionally takes place in the fall, but the female will delay fertilization and development until the next spring. The average gestation period is three months. They average number of young is around 12 but can range anywhere from 4-27. Females give birth in late summer or maybe even the early fall. After birth there is no parental care involved, the young are left to fend for themselves. Most young reach sexual maturity after two years, but most usually wait until the third year.