The Southern Ringneck Snake, 29 March 2014

Diadophis punctatus punctatus, the Southern ringneck snake;
Lake county, Florida (29 March 2014).

The Southern ringneck snake, Diadophis punctatus punctatus, is a small, reclusive species averaging only about a foot in length; I usually see them a bit shorter. Preying primarily upon slugs, earthworms, salamanders, and the occasional wee lizard, Southern ringneck spend most of their time somewhat covered beneath surface debris such as leaves, palms, and the like. I usually find them on open ground either at night or after a good, solid rain. Note the brightness of the ventral scales — especially along that bottom of the tail. Presumably as a defensive measure, the Southern ringneck will flash and coil the underside of its tail, wiggling it around, I suppose, to distract a would-be predator from hitting the part that really matters: the Ringneck’s head. Not a bad move to have in your pocket if you’re a teeny-tiny little snake, right?

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