Eastern Ribbon Snake

Eastern Ribbon Snake

(Thamnophis sauritus)

Features

  • A slim snake with three bright yellow, longitudinal stripes running down its sides, contrasting sharply against the dark brown/black dorsal background colour
  • Is easily mistaken for the more common Eastern Garter Snake, which is also striped
  • Adults can grow up to about 70 cm long
  • Usually found close to water, especially in marshes where it hunts for frogs and small fish
  • Hibernates in winter burrows or rock crevices (called a “hibernaculum”) (ROM)

Status

Special Concern Provincially and Nationally

Range

Occurs in isolated pockets from southern Ontario west to Michigan and Wisconsin, south to Illinois and Ohio, and east to New York State and Nova Scotia (disjunct population). Widespread in Ontario where it is locally common in parts of the Bruce Peninsula, Georgian Bay and eastern Ontario (ROM)

Threats

Since southern Ontario is at the northern limit of this species range, it may not have ever been common or widespread here.  There is very little historical data on abundance trends for this species in Ontario, however, it is speculated that the reduction of wetland habitat from urban and agricultural development is likely causing a decline in Ontario’s Ribbonsnake population. (ROM)

Protection

  • Planning Act protects provincially significant wetlands which give protection to some Eastern Ribbonsnake habitat. (ROM)
  • National and Provincial Parks contain many of Ontario’s populations, thus protection is provided to the species and their habitat

References

Royal Ontario Museum: Eastern Ribbonsnake

 

 

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