Mud Snake

Mud Snake

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Suborder
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Farancia abacura
Population size
Unknown
Life Span
19 yrs
LENGTH
1-1.4 m

The Mud snake is a nonvenomous, semiaquatic snake native to the southeastern United States. Its upperside is glossy black in color. The underside is red and black, and the red extends up the sides to form bars of reddish-pink. Although, some have a completely black body with slightly lighter black spots instead of the common reddish colors. Its body is heavy and cylindrical in cross section, and the short tail has a terminal spine.

Distribution

Mud snakes are found in the southeastern United States, in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. They inhabit the edges of streams and cypress swamps, among dense vegetation or underground debris.

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Mud snakes are almost fully aquatic and rarely leave the water, except to lay eggs, hibernate, or during drought to escape drying wetlands. They are active during the night and when hunting these snakes are known to use their sharply pointed tails to prod prey items; this behavior has led to the nickname "stinging snake", although their tail is not a stinger and cannot sting.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Mud snakes are carnivores. They prey mostly on giant aquatic salamanders, but also eat other amphibians.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
REPRODUCTION SEASON
April-May
INDEPENDENT AGE
at birth
BABY NAME
snakelet
BABY CARRYING
4-111 eggs

Mud snakes are polygynous, meaning that males mate with more than one female. Breeding occurs in the spring, mostly in the months of April and May. Eight weeks after mating, the female lays 4 to 111 eggs in a nest dug out of moist soil, sometimes in alligator nests. She will remain with her eggs until they hatch, in the fall, usually September or October. Once hatched, the young are fully independent and are able to fend for themselves. They become reproductively mature at about 2.5 years of age.

Population

Population threats

There are no major threats facing Mud snakes at present.

Population number

The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Mud snake total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • Mud snakes belong to the colubrid snakes. This is the largest snake family which members are found on every continent except Antarctica.
  • Mud snakes are sometimes known as “hoop snakes” because of the myth that they will bite their own tail and roll after people.
  • Mud snakes are not aggressive. When captured, they may press their tail spine into their captor which is absolutely harmless.

References

1. Mud Snake on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mud_snake
2. Mud Snake on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/63779/12707670

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