The Ribbon snake is a nonvenomous common species of garter snake native to Eastern North America. They are dark brown in color with three bright yellow stripes. Their chin is white and the belly is whitish-yellow in color.
Ribbon snakes are found in the eastern United States and southeastern Canada. Their range extends from southern Maine and Nova Scotia throughout southern Ohio and Indiana and to southeastern Louisiana, the Gulf Coast, and southern Florida. Ribbon snakes are typically found in aquatic and areas of high vegetation such as marshes, ponds, streams, and lakes. They tend to live in areas that are mainly water, making it easier for them to swim and catch their prey. Although most of them live in aquatic areas, they also tend to reside in forests or higher rocky areas.
Ribbon snakes are diurnal and spend most of their time in or near water, where they hunt their prey. The rest time is spent basking along shorelines, on logs and rocks or sometimes may climb in low bushes. They are generally solitary but may hibernate in groups. Hibernation occurs during the winter, usually in abandoned burrows, ant mounds, underground or even underwater. Ribbon snakes are very sensitive to vibrations and have a very sharp vision but despite that, they often fall prey to birds and larger amphibians and reptiles. They rarely use any aggressive forms of defense. Instead, they will use their brown bodies and camouflage themselves into the forest ground. Along with this, Ribbon snakes will also flee and hide in dense patches of grass in which they will coil up and get as low to the ground as possible. They also often escape into the water, where they are safe from many predators.
Ribbon snakes have a polygynandrous (promiscuous) mating system, in which both males and females mate with multiple partners. Their breeding season begins in the spring, after hibernation. During this time Ribbon snakes begin to look for mates. They are ovoviviparous and give birth to live young once or twice each year. The young tend to be born in the summer, in litters of 4-27 snakelets. They are born precocial (fully-developed) and don't receive parental care. They grow rapidly and tend to mature after 2-3 years of age, which is when they will be able to start breeding.
There are no major threats facing Ribbon snakes at present. However, locally they do suffer from the loss of wetland habitat, pollution, road mortality and illegal collection.
The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Ribbon snake total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.