Midland Brownsnake (Storeria dekayi wrightorum)
This small, fossorial species is variable in coloration, but is usually shades of brown and/or gray. A lighter vertical stripe runs down the back with short crossbars connecting two rows of dots. The patterning resembles a zipper and gradually fades to a uniform color toward the tail. Dark spots occur below each eye and on the temporal region. The belly coloration is cream.
The influence of the Texas Brownsnake (S. d. texana) may be seen in more westerly species.
Superficially, this species resembles the Red-bellied Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata), but has dark--rather than light--spots on the head and a cream--rather than red (sometimes yellow)--belly.
This species was once referred to as a DeKay's Snake in honor of a naturalist from New York named James Edward DeKay.
This species may be found in a variety of moist environments, especially forest floors that have plenty of leave litter. It is not uncommon to find them inhabiting bark mulch around flowerbeds.
This nocturnal, secretive species is rarely seen exposed, but may be uncovered from a hiding place.
This species presumably follows an activity pattern similar to other snakes. Emergence from hibernation occurs in early spring, followed almost immediately by a breeding season. Females give birth to live young (not eggs) in late summer to early fall.
The preferred diet of this species includes earthworms, slugs, and soft-bodied insects. They are able to extract land snails from their shells using their blunt heads and elongated teeth.
This species forages actively for its prey. It may sometimes be seen crawling along the side of a house or rock wall at night in search of prey.
This species does not bite if handled gently, though they may poop and/or musk. Other than camouflage, this species has little in the way of defense. They will sometimes flatten their body and even curl up their labial scales, presumably to look bigger and more fierce.
This species has no special protections in the state. Because of its secretive nature and diet preference, it persists even near human habitations.