Although I have found the Eastern Ribbon Snake and Western Ribbon Snake in Illinois, it was not until this year that I found this species that lives in my home state of Ohio.
The Northern Ribbon Snake is found along the edges of lakes, ponds, bogs, streams and marshes – especially where low vegetation occurs. It tends to prefer sites that get a fair amount of sunlight.
This snake eats frogs, tadpoles, salamanders and small fish. Though it superficially looks like a garter snake with three yellow stripes on a dark background, it is thinner in build and more aquatic in its habitat preferences.
Northern Ribbon Snakes give birth to 3 to 26 live young in late summer. The baby snakes are 7 to 9 inches long and are colored and patterned the same as the adults.
This is an active fast-moving snake that when approached, will typically flee for shelter or into the water, relying on its speed and agility to avoid capture.
It was an excellent experience to come across a few of these sharply marked serpents for the first time while herping in the Buckeye State.