Northern Ring-necked Snake


Scientific Name: Diadophis punctatus edwardsii
Size: 10 – 27.7,” rarely exceeding 19.7” (adult total length)
Status: May be common to rare. Very secretive so difficult to monitor.
Michigan State Status: Endangered;
MDNR Wildlife Action Plan Status: Species of Greatest Conservation Need

Northern Ring Necked Snake



Prefers moist, shaded woodlands, but also occupies open habitats near woods such as clear-cuts, old fields, grassy dunes and beaches, and trash dumps.

Adult Coloration:

Solid bluish black, gray, or brownish gray above with a bright orange or yellow ring around its neck and a matching yellow or yellowish-orange belly. Belly is either uniformly colored or has a few small black dots along the mid-line.

Adult Characteristics:

Small snake with shiny, unkeeled scales and a divided anal plate.

Juvenile Characteristics:

Coloration is similar to adult’s, but somewhat darker dorsally and lighter ventrally. Hatchlings are usually 3.5 – 5.5” in length.

Scale Count:

Usually 15 scale rows at midbody

Species Confused With:

Ring-necked Snakes can be confused with very young Brown Snakes and Northern Red-bellied snakes, but Brown Snakes have at least a hint of spots on the back, and the Red-bellied Snake has a pink or red belly. Both of these species have keeled scales


  • Amphibians and Reptiles of the Great Lakes Region by Jim Harding
  • Harding, J.H. and J.A. Holman. 2006. Michigan Snakes. MSU Extension Ext. Bulletin E-2000,74 pp. [revised].
  • Ruthven, A. G., H. B. T. Gaige, et al. 1912. The herpetology of Michigan, by Alexander B. Ruthven. Crystal Thompson and Helen Thompson; Memoranda towards a bibliography of the archaeology of Michigan, by Harlan I. Smith; prepared under the direction of Alexander G. Ruthven. Lansing, Mich., Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford, State Printers.
  • Holman, J. A. 2012. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Michigan: A Quaternary and Recent Faunal Adventure. Detroit, Mich., Wayne State University Press.
  • Conant, R., and Collins, J. T. 1998. Reptiles and Amphibians: Eastern, Central North America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Press.