Dekay's Brown Snake is a non-venomous Ohio snake


The dekay’s brown snake is a very small snake with a dark brown or tan body and two rows of darker spots down its back. Often there is a lighter band along the back as well. Its belly is gray to pink and can have several small black spots. These snakes looks quite similar to earth snakes, but those snakes lack spots on the back and head. Dekay’s brown snakes can be 9 to 15 inches long.


The dekay’s brown snake eats insects, earthworms, and small tree frogs.

Distribution And Habitat

Dekay’s brown snakes are secretive, preferring to stay under cover such as leaf litter and logs. They are out in the day, but will become nocturnal in very warm weather. They are a somewhat cold-tolerant species and begin hibernation in October or November. They can emerge in March or April. They den in burrows, rock crevices or under buildings, below the frost line. They often den communally and share winter dens with other brown snakes and with other snake species such as garter snakes, redbelly snakes and smooth green snakes.


Mating season is in the spring. The snake will bear anywhere from 12 to 20 live babies in late July to early August. The young snakes are about 3 1/2 inches long and have a white neck ring and a darker body. They tend to stay near their mother right after birth, but she doesn’t give them paternal care. The snakes reach sexual maturity by the end of their second summer, usually by this time they have doubled in length.


Dekay’s brown snakes will try to avoid humans and tend to hide underneath debris or rocks. They are fairly docile and although they can produce musk and bite if handled it is very rare for them to do so. They are actually quite harmless snakes.


Additional Media