Adult and young have known colorations of solid olive-brown, tan-brown, chestnut-brown, grey-brown, grey or even black. They have three yellow spots posterior to the head shields, to which the specific name occipitomaculata (meaning spotted back of the head) refers. The underside is coral-red to brick-red. Coloration is usually made up of three different shades forming a striped pattern. Like all species of the genus Storeria, redbelly snakes have keeled scales and no loreal scale. Some specimens have been found with three black dots on the top of the head. Adults will grow to about Template:Convert.
They feed primarily on slugs and earthworms. They can be found in moist flowerbeds, gardens, and moist woodlands, from Saskatchewan to Nova Scotia, south to Florida and Texas. Being nonvenomous, they can be safely handled. They are known to live up to four years in captivity.
Northern redbelly snakes give birth to live young. Newborns measure 7.6-11 cm (3-4¼ in.).