The Northern scarlet snake (Cemophora coccinea copei) is a subspecies of harmless colubrid snake that is found in the southern and eastern United States. The epithet copei is in honor of renown taxonomist Edward Drinker Cope.

Description Edit

The Northern scarlet snake grows to 36-51 cm (14-20 inches) in total length. It is typically a gray or white base color with 17-24 red blotches bordered by black that go down the back. The black borders on the blotches often join on the lower sides of the snake forming a line down the length of the body. Their scales are smooth. They can sometimes be mistaken for the scarlet kingsnake, (Lampropeltis triangulum elapsoides) or the Eastern milk snake (Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum) in the areas where their ranges overlap.

Behavior Edit

The Northern scarlet snake is a secretive, burrowing species, preferring habitats of soft soils, often in open forested areas or developed agricultural land. They spend most of their time hidden, emerging to feed on small rodents and lizards, but they have a particular taste for reptile eggs, swallowing them whole or puncturing them and consuming the contents.

Reproduction Edit

Mating occurs in March through June, with 3-8 eggs laid in mid summer, and hatching in early fall. Hatchlings are 13-15 cm (5-6 inches) in total length.

Geographic distribution Edit

The Northern scarlet snake is found in the United states, in: eastern Texas, eastern Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and barely into northern Florida, with disjunct populations New Jersey, and central Missouri.

Conservation status Edit

The Northern scarlet snake holds no particular conservation status throughout most of its range, but it is listed as endangered species in the state of Florida, as it is only known to occur in a single county there.

References Edit

External links Edit

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