Florida Brown Snake (Storeria victa)

Photos by J.D. Willson unless otherwise noted

Description: Florida Brown Snakes are small — 9–13 in (23-33 cm) -– brown to gray snakes, with keeled scales, a light band across the back of the neck, and dark pigment on the lip scales. There are often a series of tiny black dots along each side of the belly. This snake looks similar to the earth snakes (Virginia sp.) but those species lack spots on the head and along the sides of the belly. Rough earth snakes (V. striatula) have a much more pointed head than Storeria. They can be distinguished from redbellied snakes (Storeria occipitomaculata) by their lack of red underside and from the other brown snakes (Storeria dekayi) by geographic range and presence of light neck band. Some authorities consider the Florida brown snake to be a subspecies of the more widespread brown snake (S. dekayi).

Range and Habitat: This species is closely related to the brown snake (Storeria dekayi), and replaces this species in southeastern Georgia and peninsular Florida. This species can be found in a variety of habitats but is most common is moist habitats with abundant ground cover. Such habitats include hardwood hammocks, swamp and wetland margins, and even suburban yards.

Habits: Like other brown snakes, S. victa generally hides under cover such as leaf litter and logs, but are sometimes seen active in the evening or at night. This species is viviparous, and females give birth to 3-31 young, in summer. They probably reach sexual maturity within 3 years.

Conservation Status: Although seemingly less common than other brown snakes (S. dekayi), S. victa is not protected in most of its range. This species is protected throughout the state of Georgia. There is some concern that brown snakes have declined in sections of the Florida Panhandle.

Account Author: Jennifer O’Connor, University of Georgia – edited by J.D. Willson