Nothern Ribbon Snake  (Thamnophis sauritus)– Status: Special Concern

The Northern Ribbon Snake is sometimes confused as a garter snake, but to distinguish it, just check for the distinct white crescent in front of each eye that is evident on the ribbon snake. This slender snake also has three bright yellow stripes running down its back and sides, contrasting sharply with its black back, a white chin, whitish-yellow belly.


Preferred habitat of the Northern Ribbon Snake is edges of lakes, ponds, bogs, streams and marshes. They are usually seen moving through vegetation near or at the water’s edge, though they do sometimes move into nearby upland meadows. They primarily feed on frogs and salamander including tadpoles and larvae. They will occasionally take minnows and other small fish. 

 In the colder months, ribbon snakes hibernate in burrows of other animals like voles or muskrats. They breed in spring, soon after they emerge from hibernation. Female garter snakes gives birth to 5 to 12 live young in mid-summer.