Monday, June 15, 2009

Brown Snake

Since my last post was about slugs, it seems appropriate that today is about a snake that prefers slugs as a meal. The brown snake, Storeria dekayi, is a dainty, docile snake that is fairly common, yet often overlooked.


This snake is a soft brown with a lighter-colored central band down the back bordered by a row of faint black dots on each side. Just behind the eyes is a black vertical stripe. The belly is buff-colored with no markings.

The brown snake reaches about one foot in length. It's small size, cryptic coloration, and general nocturnal and even fossorial behavior leads one to forget how common this snake is in the northeast. The brown snake occurs in a variety of habitats from urban to rural. I find it in fields or meadows. One year, unfortunately, we discovered dozens killed on the road. The adjacent fields had recently been cut, and I can only guess that they dispersed to the road to get away from the mowing. And yet there were other places they could have gone. The warmth of the road must have drawn them out of the field, woods, and wet meadows.

I love this little snake. You can get close, without it slithering quickly away like a garter snake. It rarely hisses or is aggressive. And they eat slugs!

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