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Northern Ring-Necked Snake <image courtesy of Dr. Martin J. Rosenberg>

  • Adult body length: 10 - 15 inches, record 27½ inches.
  • Length 4 - 6 inches when hatched.
  • Breeding period: spring or fall
  • Young per year: 1 - 10 eggs are laid in June and July
  • Typical foods: earthworms, slugs and small salamanders, lizards and snakes.


The Ring-Necked Snake is a small and slender snake. Its ground color is olive, brown, gray or black. Just behind the neck and around the neck is a light colored ring (hence the name), which ordinarily is yellow, cream, orange or red.. Occasionally the ring is broken or it may be absent altogether. This snake's scales are smooth, without keels, and its anal plate is divided.

Overall Range
Maritime eastern Canada south to Virginia along the coast and northern Georgia inland, west through the Great Lakes area to Wisconsin, southern Illinois and northern Alabama.
Range in Ohio
In Ohio the Ring-Necked Snake mainly lives in the southern and eastern counties, and along the border of Lake Erie.
Northern Ring-Necked Snake Ohio Map

Local Habitat
Sheltered places in moist areas, typically in or near woods.


The Northern Ring-Necked Snake is fairly common in Ohio but rarely seen. These snakes are secretive and usually remain hidden. They seek cover under rocks, boards, logs and the loose bark of fallen trees. When threatened individuals often release foul-smelling musk and intestinal contents.


ODNR, Division of Wildlife, "Species A-Z Guide"

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Date of last revision: 06/25/2003
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