Ringneck Snake
Diadophis punctatus

Family: Dipsadidae - Slender Rear-fanged Snakes

Typical Adult Size: 10 to 15 inches

Reproduction: egg laying

Eye Pupil: round

Dorsal Scales: smooth

Anal Scale: divided

SC Range Map

Additional Images

Although this small species has small rear fangs and a mild venom, it is considered harmless to humans.

Ringneck Snakes are small black snakes identified by the prominent, bright marking behind the head. In South Carolina there are two subspecies: Southern (Diadophis p. punctatus) and Northern (Diadophis p. edwardsii). The two subspecies are very similar. However, there are two usual differences. The Northern has a belly with few or no spots and has a ring that is continuous across the sides and back. The Southern has a belly with a prominent row of dark spots down the center and may have a gap in its ring at the center of the back. In much of the Piedmont of South Carolina, The Northern and Southern intergrade to produce specimens with various combinations of these characteristics.

Ringneck Snakes are generally associated with woodland habitats. They are not aquatic but may often be found near water. During the day, they are usually found by turning over cover material. They roam the surface at night.

The largest Ringneck Snake which I have found was a 17 inch specimen in Laurens County. The bulk of its body was much greater than that of a 12 inch specimen. This large snake showed obvious signs of arthritis.

Additional Images:

Southern Ringneck Snake,
Diadophis punctatus punctatus
Northern Ringneck Snake,
Diadophis punctatus edwardsii
adult: length = approx. 12 inches immature: length = 6 inches
adult: length = approx. 12 inches  
adult: length = approx. 12 inches  
juvenile: length = 7.5 inches  
adult: length approx. = 12 inches  
adult: belly  
Return to top of page

Return to SC Snake Index

July 07, 2009
Contact: South Carolina Reptiles and Amphibians