Rainbow Snake

Farancia erytrogramma (State Status: S2; imperiled)


Similar to the more commonly observed Mudsnake, Rainbow Snakes are large, aquatic, harmless, and brightly colored. They range in the coastal plains of south MS and inhabit sandy-bottomed streams. Adults may reach well over 5 or even 6 feet in total length. They are nocturnal hunters and primarily eat eels, and are restricted to where they can find their prey. Rarely seen in Mississippi due to secretive ecology and particular habitat.

Large adult female Rainbow Snake from southeastern MS, © Terry Vandeventer

Identifying Traits

  • Glossy black back with red stripes
  • Belly red with two rows of rounded black markings

Subspecies Present:

Rainbow Snake (Farancia erytrogramma erytrogramma)


Clear, sandy-bottomed streams with eel populations in the coastal plains of the Southeast



Nocturnally active and highly aquatic


Primarily eels

Rainbow Snake on sandy substrate, Forrest Co. (MS), © Kevin Narum
Rainbow Snake from Georgia, © Kevin Hutcheson