Ribbon Snake, Eastern

Latin name

Thamnophis sauritus


Fast facts

  • Adult body length: 18 - 26 inches, record 38 inches
  • Length at birth: 7 - 9 inches
  • Breeding period: spring
  • Young per year: 3 - 26 young born live in July and August
  • Typical foods: small fish, tadpoles, salamanders, small frogs, and toads. Unlike garter snakes the Eastern Ribbon Snake usually doe not eat earthworms.


    The Eastern Ribbon Snake is closely related to garter snakes, but is much slimmer. Also it has a shorter tail relative to its body length than do garter snakes. Probably the most distinctive characteristic about the Eastern Ribbon Snake's coloring is the presence of three light-colored stripes that run along the body. The scales of this snake are keeled and the anal plate is single.


    Overall Range
    New England south to Florida, west through southern Ontario to Michigan and Louisiana. All of its range is east of the Mississippi River, and occupies most of that area.

    Range in Ohio
    This snake lives in northern Ohio and in eastern parts of the state.

    Eastern Ribbon Snake Ohio Map

    Local Habitat
    Weedy wet areas such as edges of streams and bodies of water, marshes, bogs and ponds, and in wet meadows.


    The Eastern Ribbon Snake is a semi-aquatic snake that lives in wet areas near water. Even though it is a good swimmer it prefers the shore to open water. When disturbed this snake often moves quickly into nearby water, swims at the surface along the shore, away from the threat. Then it swiftly slips back into concealing, shoreline vegetation. This snake normally does not dive into deep water as do the water snakes.