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Sunday, October 1, 2017


Eric and I were looking for toads in Walpole, Massachusetts, on 1 October 2017, when we spotted this beautiful Ringneck Snake (Diadophis punctatus) under a rock.  I'll admit it fooled us at first!

Although it's hard to tell from the picture, this is a very small snake.  [We estimate it was ~12 cm long, or a little less than 5 inches.]  In a shaded woodland, the yellow ring around the neck was hard to see. We thought it was a salamander at first, but when I got a little closer for a photo, I realized it was a young snake.

Here's a zoomed-in view:

And the smooth, blue-black scales:

For a size reference, here's the snake in Eric's hand as we released it next to the rock where we found it.  Adult Ringneck Snakes are often ~25-38 cm (~10-15 inches) long.  In Massachusetts, hatchlings emerge from eggs in August/September, so it's likely this snake is only 1-2 months old.

Although Ringneck Snakes are also found in California, I haven't seen one there yet, so it was a treat to encounter this species! 


Bill Wolpert said...

I saw my first and only ringneck snake hiking along the McCloud River the summer before last. It was about 10" long, titanium-gray with an bright orange ring around the neck, and orange along its belly. They are a beautiful snake.

Jackie Sones said...

Hi, Bill!

I agree! They're one of my favorite snakes.

:) Jackie