lifestyle Science

Ring neck snake Fact.

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The ring neck snake is a harmless snake found in North America. These are exceptionally reclusive snakes and are seldom spotted during the daytime. Although their nonaggressive attitude and short, rear-facing fangs offer minimal hazard to those who choose to touch them, they are mildly poisonous. They curl up their tails when attacked, displaying their brilliant red-orange ventral surface. This is how they defend themselves. There is only a conspicuous yellow, red, or yellow-orange neckband to break up the uniform dorsal color of these snakes. Some populations do not have the distinguishing neckband.

Moreover, individuals may have diminished or partly colored neckbands that are hard to discern; coloring may also be more of a cream tint than brilliant orange or red. Blacker than grey or olive, the color of the head is often darker than the rest of the body. The snakes’ ventral coloring ranges from yellow-orange to red, with black crescent marks along the borders. Some individuals lack the unique ventral color but usually maintain the black markings.

SCIENTIFIC NAMEDiadophis punctatus


Ring neck snakes exist over most United States, extending into southern Canada and central Mexico. Ringneck snakes may be found in a broad range of ecosystems worldwide. They like densely wooded places for nesting and foraging. They may be found inside open forests on rocky slopes, or in wetter areas with an abundant cover of woody debris, within riparian and moist environments, particularly in more dry habitats. Because it’s a forest reptile, you’ll often find it hiding beneath fallen trees or other decaying organic matter.


The longest reported lifespan in captivity is 6 years 2 months. On the other hand, ring necks have been known to survive for upwards of ten years in the wild. Their natural lifespan is estimated to be about 20 years.

Habits and Lifestyle

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Ring-Necked Snake (Image Credit: Shutterstock)

Ring neck snakes are predominantly nocturnal or very crepuscular. However, some daylight activity has sometimes been documented. They are occasionally observed throughout the day, particularly on gloomy days, sunbathing themselves to build heat. However, most people utilize conduction to acquire heat by lying directly beneath items warmed by the sun’s rays. Though ringneck snakes are exceedingly secretive, they demonstrate some social organization. Many populations have been discovered to develop enormous colonies of more than 100 individuals. Ringneck snakes hibernate in communal dens during the winter months. The venom of these snakes is mild, and they utilize it for eating rather than defending themselves, making them completely safe for people to contact. Wearing necks, snakes feel threatened rather than attempting to attack a predator; they will coil up their tail like a corkscrew, displaying their vividly colored belly.

Diet and Nutrition

Ringneck snakes are nocturnal (active at night) predators that prey largely on tiny lizards, snakes, salamanders, frogs, toads, earthworms, slugs, and insects. These snakes are not constrictors. The somewhat poisonous venom, released by two slightly enlarged fangs at the back of the mouth, is used to gently paralyze larger victims. However, smaller prey is frequently rapidly devoured alive.

Mating Habits

During a single mating season, male and female ringneck snakes are polygynandrous (promiscuous). They normally mate in the spring. In specific subspecies, mating may occur in the autumn. During this period, females attract males by secreting pheromones from their skin. Females deposit their eggs in loose, aerated soils beneath a rock or rotten wood. Eggs are laid in the early summer and hatch in August or September; the average number of eggs laid is three to ten. The egg is a striking sight, long and white, with bright yellow tips. When hatched, snakelets are precocial and fend for themselves without parental care. They become reproductively mature at 3 years of age.

Related: The scarlet king snakes


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Ring-Necked Snake (Image Credit: Shutterstock)

The tail is coiled and raised toward the intruder when ringneck snakes are scared. Only populations with the orange-red posterior exhibit this behavior. The red coloring may operate as a warning signal. When pushed further, Western subspecies pretend to be dead. A strong, sticky odor is released from the snake’s mouth when handled, along with musky saliva.

Predators include coral snakes, kingsnakes, and racers. Predators may include other snakes that live in the ringneck snake’s range. In addition, wild pigs, opossums, shrews, armadillos, skunks, screech owls, and bullfrogs have also been suspected predators. Juvenile ringneck snakes have been preyed upon by large spiders and centipedes.

Conservation Status

Federal endangered or vulnerable species listings are being considered for three subspecies. They are San Diego ringneck snakes (Diadophis punctatus similis), San Bernardino ringneck snakes (Diadophis punctatus modestus), and key ringneck snakes (Diadophis punctatus acricus) (Diadophis punctatus acricus). Key ringneck snakes are also an endangered species in Florida and are protected under state law. The distribution of the subspecies is confined to a single island in the Florida Keys. Ringneck snakes of the northwestern and royal snakes (Diadophis punctatus regalis and Diadophis punctatus occidentalis, respectively) are protected in Idaho by state law as “species of particular concern.”

FQA (FrequentlyAsked Question)

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Ring-Necked Snake (Image Credit: Shutterstock)

What type of animal is a ring neck snake?

Diadophis punctatus, the ring neck snake, is a small snake species from the Animalia kingdom.

How many ring neck snakes are there in the world?

The ringneck snake population in the globe has not been analyzed. However, they are snake species that dwell together in groups and are seldom observed alone.

Who do ring neck snakes live with?

Ring neck snakes are not lonely creatures. Diadophis punctatus are seen in big groups of up to 100 snakes. If they do venture alone, they are prone to assaults by predators.

How long does a ring neck snake live?

This species has an average lifespan of 6 years, 2 months. 10 years old was the record for the oldest known ring neck snake.

How do they communicate?

Pheromones and body language are the primary means by which they communicate. Touching, stroking, head nuzzling is part of how they communicate through mating and other behaviors like fighting and expressing their approval or displeasure.

How fast can a ring neck snake move?

Ring neck snakes are tiny and swift in their movement. They are prone to assault even pet animals like dogs or cats if they detect any in their path.

How cute are they?

Snakes of this size are seldom observed in the wild since they are generally timid creatures that dislike being exposed to the elements. At night, when they’re most active, it’s unusual to spot them during the day.

Would they make a good pet?

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Ring-Necked Snake (Image Credit: Shutterstock)

Yes, ringneck snakes are a popular pet option for snake owners and those contemplating keeping snakes as pets. They are a tiny type of snake and don’t get too large, so it’s easy to maintain them compared to other species of snakes. Furthermore, they are not hazardous to people; however, they can create a foul stench when humans touch them.

What are the different types of ring neck snakes?

Ring neck snakes come in 14 different varieties. The list includes regal ringneck snakes, prairie ringneck snakes, coral-bellied ringneck snakes, San Diego ringneck snakes, ring-necked garter snakes, southern ringneck snakes, northern ringneck snakes, Florida ringneck snakes, Pacific ringneck snake,s and yellow ringneck snakes. They’re all tiny and come in a variety of colours. Venomous, yet non-lethal to people, they are often seen in groups. Such species can only be recognized by the ring around their necks.

Are ring neck snakes endangered?

No, their population situation is more or less constant and not threatened. They reside in vast colonies and can be observed in human settlements as well if they discover sufficient food nearby. In a similar vein, rat snake species are drawn to human snakes by rodent prey such as mice and rats. If you find yourself in this situation, the best course is to call a pest control company in your area. Ring neck snakes are small; hence you are unlikely to get scared by their size. However, if you do ever spot them, be sure to keep a distance if you’re observing them or move aside so they don’t harm you, and be cautious specifically if you have pets at home since these snakes are known to attack domestic pets as well.

Also Read: The scarlet king snakes


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