Scarlet Snake, Cemophora coccinea

The Scarlet snake (Cemophora coccinea) is a member of the Columbrae family. They are found only in the United States, in: southeastern Texas, eastern Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. The species typically inhabits oak and pine forests with sandy soil good for burrowing.

The Scarlet snake only grows to lengths of approximately 14-26 inches. Commonly grey in coloration, a striking color pattern of banded red, black, yellow or orange bands cover its smooth scales. Relatively small and slender, they use their pointed snouts for burrowing.

The Scarlet snake primarily feeds on reptile eggs. Small rodents, reptiles and other snakes and lizards have been known to be hunted as well. A nocturnal species, the snake spends much time hiding below ground and under leaves and brush.

The Scarlet snake lays eggs making the species oviparous. Breeding typically takes place in springtime and between 3 to 8 eggs are laid by midsummer.

The Scarlet snake may often be mistaken for the venomous Coral snake or the Scarlet king snake. Though the Scarlet snake species is non venomous, humans should take caution when handling or approaching the snake because of the resemblance.

Image Caption: Scarlet snake (Cemophora coccinea). Credit: Alessandro Catenazzi/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.5)