Farancia erytrogramma (also known as the Rainbow Snake, and less commonly, the Eel Moccasin) is a large, nonvenomous, highly aquatic, colubrid snake found in coastal plains of the southeastern United States. The specific name is derived from the Greek words ερυθρóς (erythros), meaning "red," and γράμμα (gramma), meaning "line."

Description Edit

Rainbow Snakes have smooth, glossy bluish-black back scales, with three red stripes. They have short tails, with a spiny tip which they sometimes use as a probe. Adults may show yellow coloration along the sides and on the head. They grow to a length of Template:Convert, although some specimens have been recorded up to Template:Convert in length. Females are larger than males.

Behavior Edit

Rainbow Snakes are rarely seen due to their secretive habits. They spend most of their lives in the water, hiding in aquatic vegetation or other forms of cover. They are strong swimmers, and also know how to burrow into mud and sand.

In New Kent County, Virginia they are abundant in sandy fields near the Chickahominy River, and great numbers are turned up by plows in the spring.[1]

Rainbow Snakes subsist mainly on eels, but also prey on small frogs, tadpoles and salamanders. They eat their prey alive, usually swallowing them head first.

Females usually lay their eggs in July, leaving them underground in sandy soil. A clutch consists of around 20 eggs on average, but large females may lay over 50. The young are hatched in late summer or fall.

Rainbow snakes are not aggressive when captured, and do not bite their captors.

  1. Richmond, Neil D.1945.The Habits of the Rainbow Snake in Virginia.Copeia.Vol.1945,No.1

Geographic range Edit

Rainbow Snakes are found in aquatic habitats ranging from cypress swamps and marshes to blackwater creek, slow-moving streams, and sandy coastal plain, from southern Maryland to southeastern Louisiana, including eastern Virginia, southeastern North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, northern Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. A small population once inhabited the Lake Okeechobee region in southern Florida, but is presumed extinct.

Subspecies Edit

There are two recognized subspecies of F. erytrogramma:

  • Farancia erytrogramma erytrogramma (Palisot de Beauvois, 1802) – Common Rainbow Snake
  • Farancia erytrogramma seminola (Neill, 1964) – Southern Florida Rainbow Snake

References Edit

  1. Richmond, Neil D.1945.The Habits of the Rainbow Snake in Virginia.Copeia.Vol.1945,No.1

External linksEdit

Template:Commonscat-inline Template:Wikispecies-inlinepl:Farancia erytrogramma

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