Rainbow Snake

Farancia erytrogramma (State Status: S2; imperiled)

Description

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.

Rainbow Snake from Georgia, © Kevin Hutcheson

Identifying Traits

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

Subspecies Present:

Rainbow Snake (Farancia erytrogramma erytrogramma)

Habitat

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

Range

Behavior

Nocturnally active and highly aquatic

Diet

Primarily eels

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