Scientific Name: Diadophis punctatus edwardsii
Classification: Reptilia, Order Squamata, Family Colubridae
Distribution: This species is found statewide in Virginia with the exception of the lower portion of the Eastern Shore although not all counties are represented by specimens. It inhabits moist wooded areas in both pine and hardwood, where there is an abundance of rotting logs, old stumps, and loose bark to provide hiding places. It is also found in cutover lands, sawdust piles, field edges and even suburban backyards. This is the most common snake in the Shenandoah National Park and the Great Dismal Swamp. The ringneck snake is secretive, inhabiting the leaf litter and upper soil horizon community. It is seldom encountered in the open.
The adult is gray to bluish black above with a flat black head. The neck ring and ventral color varies from yellowish to reddish. The neck ring may be incomplete. The belly is unmarked or has a row of dark, half-moon-shaped spots along its length. The juvenile has a velvety black dorsum and an even blacker head. Most adults are from 10-15 inches (25.4-38 cm) long. This species lays from 2-10 whitish eggs in rotting logs in June or early July. Several clusters may be laid together in a communal nest. The 3 1/2- to 5- inch young hatch in late summer. This species will twist and raise its tail like a corkscrew when approached by certain predators.
Last updated: August 18, 2023
The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources Species Profile Database serves as a repository of information for Virginia’s fish and wildlife species. The database is managed and curated by the Wildlife Information and Environmental Services (WIES) program. Species profile data, distribution information, and photography is generated by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, State and Federal agencies, Collection Permittees, and other trusted partners. This product is not suitable for legal, engineering, or surveying use. The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources does not accept responsibility for any missing data, inaccuracies, or other errors which may exist. In accordance with the terms of service for this product, you agree to this disclaimer.