REDBELLY SNAKE (Storeria occipitomaculata)
The Redbelly Snake is 8-10 inches long, has keeled scales, and a divided anal scale. On its dorsal side, its color may be slate gray or reddish brown. Two thin darker stripes are on each side. The snake's belly may be bright orange-red or jet black. Any combination of dorsal and belly colors can occur. There are three light spots on the neck.
Redbelly Snakes prefer deeply wooded regions near rivers and lakes, sandstone woods, wooded hillsides, hillsides near streams, steep slopes of forested hills, moist areas, moist woodlands, woodlands with dense leaf litter, lowlands, forest edge, open fields, the vicinity of old dilapidated farm buildings, and woodlands which remain damp throughout the year. They are usually discovered on damp ground beneath leaf litter, leaf mold, or pine needles mixed with dead leaves; equally as often they are found under flat rocks, logs, rotten logs, boards, and other surface debris.
SPECIES PROTECTION AND CRITICAL HABITATS
Redbelly Snakes are protected by the Kansas Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act and administrative regulations applicable thereto. Any time an eligible project is proposed that will impact the species' preferred habitats within its probable range, the project sponsor must contact the Ecological Services Section, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, 512 SE 25th Ave., Pratt, Kansas 67124-8174. Department personnel can then advise the project sponsor on permit requirements.
DESIGNATED CRITICAL HABITATS
As defined by Kansas Administrative Regulations, critical habitats include those areas documented as currently supporting self-sustaining population(s) of any threatened or endangered species of wildlife as well as those areas determined by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism to be essential for the conservation of any threatened or endangered species of wildlife.
Currently, the following areas are designated critical for Redbelly Snakes:
(1) All suitable habitat occurring within the section of Cherokee and Crawford counties east of U.S. Highway 69 at the Kansas-Oklahoma border (Sec. 18, T35S, R24E), extending north to State Highway K-7 (Sec. 7, T33S, R24E), then continuing north to the northern border of Crawford County (Sec. 30, T27S, R24E).
(2) All suitable woodland habitat within Douglas, Jefferson, Johnson, Leavenworth, and Wyandotte counties.