The Ribbonsnake (Thamnophis sauritus) has three yellow, length-wise stripes on a black background. A checkerboard pattern is rarely visible between the stripes. The head is dark reddish-brown over a white upper lip and there is a vertical white bar just in front of the eye. Also look for the mahogany stripe along the lower sides and edges of the belly.
The Ribbonsnake is more slender than the Gartersnake. About ¼ to ⅓ of its total length is the tail. They may reach 2 to 3 feet long (the longest documented in Vermont is 35 inches).
The Eastern Ribbonsnake may be found in pastures, open woods, and rocky areas. They are almost always near water, and they seem to prefer warm microclimates.
Mating typically occurs when snakes emerge from hibernation. Males seek out females and attempt to mate with them.
Mating takes place soon after these snakes have emerged from hibernation in the spring, they also sometimes mate in the fall. Live young are born in late summer, litter size ranges from 4 to 27 young, with 12 being average. Young snakes grow rapidly and often become mature before their second year, though some females don't breed until their third year.
All sightings of the Eastern Ribbonsnake should be reported, as these are a species of greatest concern due to low population numbers. Report your sightings to the Vermont Herp Atlas.