Dekay’s Brown Snake (Storeria dekayi)

The Dekay’s brown snake (Storeria dekayi) is a small colubrid species found throughout the eastern half of the United States, northern Mexico, and parts of southern Canada. This species may be confused for redbellied snakes (Storeria occipitomaculata) but lacks the characteristic spot found behind the head that can be used an an identifier between the two. In Florida and parts of southeastern Georgia, another species in the genus, the Florida brown snake (Storeria victa) supersedes S. dekayi. Dekay’s brown snakes are frequently found in urban areas as well as undeveloped land among leaf litter and other debris cover and specialize in a diet of soft-bodied invertebrates such as worms and slugs.

A close-up on a juvenile Dekay’s brown snake showing the light band behind the head

Dekay’s brown snakes give live birth and have litters of about 3-30 young in late summer. The young are born with a dark body color and a lightly colored band along the back of the head that disappears as the individual ages. Because of this band, juveniles are frequently confused for ringneck snakes (Diadophis punctatus).

As adults, individuals are typically tan, brown, or greyish with a checkered pattern along the body. There are some specimens found to have a reddish tone to the body color. The scales are keeled.


Dekay’s brown snakes are nonvenomous and quite small.



Unfortunately for this species, their small size tends to get into them trouble when they are confused for baby copperheads. Dekay’s brown snakes typically grow to about 12 inches in length though the current record for length is 19.3 inches but unlike a juvenile copperhead and other Agkistrodon species, they lack the brightly colored tail and body pattern. Dekay’s brown snakes are a nonvenomous species.

Related:  Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus)

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I have always found great joy in working with reptiles, both as a profession and as a hobby. I have worked with snake species from all over the world and am still just as happy to see a tiny Dekay's brownsnake as I am a large eastern diamondback. I enjoy spending my free time educating others and expanding my knowledge as well.

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