Ribbon Snake
Thamnophis sauritus

Family: Natricidae - Harmless Live-Bearing Snakes

Typical Adult Size: 18 to 26 inches

Reproduction: live bearing

Eye Pupil: round

Dorsal Scales: keeled

Anal Scale: single


SC Range Map

Additional Images

Ribbon Snakes are closely related to Garter Snakes. They look very much like Garters, only slimmer. Ribbon Snakes are more aquatic than Garters and are most often found near wetlands. Ribbon Snakes lack the vertical dark lines on the upper lip scales which are prominent in Garter Snakes.

There are two subspecies found is South Carolina: Eastern (Thamnophis s. sauritus) and Peninsula (Thamnophis s. sackenii). The Eastern Ribbon Snake is potentially found throughout most of South Carolina. The Peninsula Ribbon Snake is limited to the extreme southern corner of the state.

Although not considered dangerous to humans, there is anecdotal evidence that some persons may have allergic reactions to the saliva of Garter Snakes. Apparently, exposure to the saliva requires a sustained bite that has penetrated the skin.

Additional Images:

Eastern Ribbon Snake, Thamnophis sauritus sauritus Peninsula Ribbon Snake, Thamnophis sauritus sackenii
Adult, approx. 22 inches Adult
Juvenile, approx. 18 inches  
ineffective bite  
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July 07, 2009
Contact: South Carolina Reptiles and Amphibians