Ringneck Snake

Diadophis punctatus

The ringneck snake (also known as the ring-necked snake) is a small, dark-colored snake that lives in eastern Minnesota forests. It has a yellowish-orange belly with black markings and a yellow or orange ring around its neck.


General description: The aptly named ringneck has a bright band around its neck. Its back is black or slate-gray and its belly is yellow or orange.

Size: The ringneck snake grows to be 10 to 15 inches long.


Ringneck snakes mate in spring and sometimes in fall. The females lay an average of four eggs in early summer in a nest. The eggs hatch within eight weeks. Young are 4 to 6 inches long. At times, several females lay their eggs in one nest.


Ringneck snakes eat slugs, lizards, salamanders, earthworms, and baby snakes.


Birds of prey, skunks, snakes.

Habitat and range

Ringneck snakes are found in the eastern part of Minnesota along the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers. The state is home to two subspecies. The northern ringneck lives in forests of northeastern Minnesota and can be found under logs and stones. The prairie ringneck is found in southeastern Minnesota on the edge of forests, in forest openings, or on rocky bluffs.

Population and management

The ringneck snake has no special status in Minnesota.

Fun facts

Ringneck snakes are most active at dusk. In very hot weather they may only come out at night. When approached by predators, they coil their tails, exposing its brightly colored underside.

Ringneck Snake

Ringneck Snake

Ringneck Snake range map

Ringneck Snake