Kirtland's Snake (Clonophis kirtlandii)

Description: A small reddish brown snake with four rows of black (often indistinct) blotches down its back, and a black head. The belly is pink or red with a row of black dots along each side. Adult length: 12 to 18 inches.

Kirtland's Snake
Photo © Jim Harding

Habitat and Habits: Found in damp meadows, vacant lots, and open swampy woodlands. These earthworm and slug eating snakes stay underground much of the time, frequently using rodent or crayfish burrows. They flatten their bodies when threatened, but rarely bite and are completely harmless.

Reproduction: Females give birth to 5 to 8 young in late summer. Young Kirtland's snakes are about 5 or 6 inches long.

Range and Status: The few recent records for this species have been in the southern Lower Peninsula. Kirtland's Snake is listed as ENDANGERED by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and is protected in the state. Any sightings should be reported to the DNR Wildlife Division in Lansing.