Eastern Ribbon Snake is a non-venomous Ohio snake


The eastern ribbon snake and garter snakes may easily be confused. The ribbon snake has an extremely long tail that accounts for one-fourth to one-third of its total overall length, which is typically 18 to 26 inches. The garter snakes have a relatively short tail, usually five inches or less.

They have three light, usually yellow, stripes (two along the sides and one down the center of the back) against a dark background. Between the yellow lateral stripes and the belly there is a brown lateral stripe.


Unlike other members of the garter snake group, ribbon snakes prefer to feed upon aquatic creatures such as small fish, tadpoles, salamanders, small frogs, and toads.

Distribution And Habitat

These semi-aquatic snakes seldom venture far from water. As a rule, they frequent the margins of small lakes, ponds, and swamps, and occasionally moist woods throughout Ohio.


Eastern ribbon snakes mate soon after emerging from hibernation in the spring. They will have anywhere from 4 to 27 young which are born in late summer. Once the young are born, there is no further parental care.


The eastern ribbon snake is more at home on shore than in the water. When encountered, though, it invariably retreats to the water. But, instead of diving to the bottom as a water snake would, it swims rapidly along the shore and may disappear quickly into the vegetation.

These snakes are very high-strung and, even after being in captivity for a long time, will dart about nervously at the slightest movement.


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