DeKay’s Brownsnakes are always brown or grayish-brown. They have a wide light brown stripe down the center of the back. On each side of the stripe, there are black spots that are sometimes in the form of a checkerboard pattern. Their underside is white or tan. They have small black diagonal lines on the neck that angle back and down from the eye. They are usually about 1 foot long (the longest documented in Vermont is 17 inches) with keeled scales. When very small, they have a white ring around their neck that extends foward and under the eyes.
DeKay’s Brownsnakes can be found in overgrown wet meadows and rocky woods at low elevations. It is most often seen in the Lake Champlain Basin.
This species has a state natural heritage rank of S4 (relatively common). DeKay’s Brownsnake has been designated a Species of Greatest Conservation Need (medium priority) in Vermont’s Wildlife Action Plan. Please report sightings of this species in Vermont if you have not reported them within the last five years from a given location. Any natural history observations (feeding, migrations, road crossing areas, early or late season appearance, abnormalities, etc.) are appreciated. Photographs are always helpful, particularly if your report is the first report of this species from a town.
Species summary written by Kaile Burgess.