Brown Snake, Dekay's

Latin name

Storeria dekayi spp.


Fast facts

  • Adult body length: 9 - 14 inches
  • Body length at birth: 2¾ - 5 inches
  • Breeding period: spring and fall; young born June to September
  • Young per year: up to 25 or 30
  • Typical foods: earthworms, slugs, snails


    The color of this snake varies from yellowish-brown and reddish-brown to dark brown or gray. There is a weakly defined lighter stripe down the back with a row of dark spots on either side. Historically recognized subspecies differentiated populations via the presence of Ddark lines crossing the back, and connecting the dark spots on either side, but this is now understood as morphological variation within the species. The under surface is pale yellow, brownish, or pinkish with small black dots along the edges. The young are darker than the adults and the spotted pattern is almost invisible. Also, the young have a yellow collar across the back of the neck.


    Overall Range
    The Dekay’s brown snake ranges from southern Quebec and New England southward to the Florida panhandle and west to the Great Plains region.

    Range in Ohio
    This snake lives in most parts of Ohio except for the unglaciated hills of the southeastern part of the state.

    Map showing this snake's range in Ohio

    Local Habitat
    This snake lives in moist to wet areas in woodland, prairies, marshes, and in the margins of swamps, bogs and ponds. In areas of human habitation it sometimes occurs in vacant lots and gardens.


    Large numbers of the Dekay’s brown snake often hibernate together during the winter. During mild weather they are diurnal, while in warm weather they are nocturnal. These are secretive snakes that hide under flat rocks, logs and trash.