Western Ribbonsnake

Thamnophis proximus


Ribbonsnakes are relatively common in their range, found in woodlands, grasslands, and wetlands. The western species can be found in northwest Mississippi. They are often darker, more “contrasting” in appearance than the eastern species, with darker black sides (eastern ribbons are often more brown in color on the sides of the body). The Orange-striped Ribbonsnake has a bold orange or yellow middorsal line, often with a light precolular scale, reduced labial bars, and the lateral lines on the 3rd and 4th scale. The parietal spots on the top of the head are often highly visible and merging, though this trait is variable among Thamnophis species. Seen often basking on roads near wetlands or swamps.

Orange-striped Ribbonsnake from a central IA wetland, Polk Co. (IA)

Identifying Traits

  • Lateral line on 3rd and 4th scale from ventral (separates from common garter snake)
  • Large parietal spots and light preocular scale

Subspecies Present:

Orange-striped Ribbonsnake (Thamnophis proximus proximus)


Woodlands, grasslands, ditches, lakes, ponds, often found near bodies of water (semiaquatic)



Semiqauatic, not often found away from sources of water.


Various invertebrates, fish, tadpoles

Juvenile Orange-striped Ribbonsnake, Polk Co. (IA)
Western Ribbonsnake (some individuals have a bluish tint), St. Martin Par. (LA)
Lateral stripe orientation (stripe on scales 3 and 4 count above the ventral scales), Holt Co. (MO)