Red-bellied Mudsnake

Farancia abacura


The Red-bellied Mudsnake (commonly just called a “Mudsnake”) is a large, harmless aquatic species know for their vibrant, contrast-y, and beautiful red and black coloration. They range throughout MS, and inhabit muddy-bottomed bodies of water, ditches, and streams; generally they are found where the amphiuma are. Adults may reach well over 5 or even 6 feet in total length. They are nocturnal hunters and primarily eat amphiumas, large native salamanders found in similar aquatic environments. 

Western Mudsnake from an ephemeral wetland and sandy-soiled watershed, South Mississippi

Identifying Traits

  • Glossy black back and red-patterned belly

Subspecies Present:

Western Mudsnake (Farancia abacura reinwardtii)


Muddy-bottomed water bodies



Nocturnally active and highly aquatic


Amphiuma and siren salamanders

Closeup of head, Tangipahoa Par. (LA)
Belly patterns of mudsnakes are made up of glossy red and black scales, Tangipahoa Par. (LA)