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Old 08-21-04, 07:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Snake ID - I'm at a loss

While we were out getting cleaning supplies for the mammals, and some crickets to breed for next months gecko purchase (whee! ) we ran into some kids at the PetSmart who had rescued a snake from traffic and brought it home.

At first appearance I thought it was a baby, being only 8 inches long at most.

Then they showed me the offspring. It gave birth to six young right after they caught it, and two of the babies had survived and were in the container with it. The babies were the side of paper matches.

I can't match it up to anything in my guide book so maybe someone here could. I met our resident cartoonist at the store as well, and he was as surprised as I was to see such a small specimen giving birth.

The scales were striped light and dark brown, the length of the body in the pattern of a plains garter. The ventral scales were a brilliant red.

My camera has lousy macro controls so it's not going to be the best shots. Judge for yourself though




Once we know what it is, I'm going to call the family and let them know.

I know this will probably turn into a "set it free" debate, but I'm just looking for an ID. The kids have the URL for the site, and if they come here you can *nicely* explain to them about taking animals from the wild. I just wanted to make sure they knew what they've got before trying to stick it in the wrong kind of environment.
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Old 08-21-04, 07:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I think its a northern redbelly snake. They eat slugs and such.
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Old 08-21-04, 07:45 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Smile Red-Bellied snake

That is a Red-bellied snake, Storeria occipitomaculata.

Usually found amoung leaf litter in wooded areas in the southern parts of Ontario. They eat small inverts and get 40 cm/ 16" in length. Red-bellies give live birth in July, between 4-13 offspring.

This species is not considered at risk, but should be returned to a suitable environment soon, these little guys need to den up for the winter

:skull: Jenn:skull:
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Old 08-21-04, 07:47 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I could be wrong but it looks like a red belly to me. We have lots of them in our area. I have heard that they are few in Ontario but I see dozens every summer around here. Pics are kind of hard to see but from your discription I'd think a red belly.
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Old 08-21-04, 07:48 PM   #5 (permalink)
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haha, when I started replying no one had replied yet, am I that slow of a typer?! lol
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Old 08-21-04, 07:52 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Its some sort of storeria occipitomaculata (red-bellied snake) but I wouldnt say northern. They are usually more grey.
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Old 08-21-04, 07:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I"ve heard northerns can be a brown or grey and on occasion there has even been black ones found. I don't know if it was a northern but a couple years ago I found a sweet little dark one that looked near black. Beautiful snakes!! They don't do well in captivity though and usually wont eat well. I think they eat slugs mostly in the wild.
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Old 08-21-04, 08:06 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Well, that was quick

I think I need to check out Scotty's collection of herp guides for North America at the next show

Thanks everyone.

The mom will probably be looking for a good reason to let them go, though she was looking for equipment to house them in.
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Old 08-21-04, 08:56 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I have caught many northern red bellies and i have caught orange ones brown one black ones and grey ones, also black with grey stripes and grey with black stripes.

And yes your snake is a northern red belly.
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Old 08-21-04, 09:33 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Classic red-belly
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Old 08-21-04, 09:48 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Well, I'm not sure that you really need my help, but I think (know for sure) that that is a northern redbelly. There are 2 small live-bearing snakes in Ontario, the redbelly and the brown (both in the genus Storeria). Browns have a different dorsal pattern and normally (I think always) lack the bright red belly. The belly of the red-belly can be red, orange, grey or anywhere in between but red is the most common
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