Michigan State University masthead

Kirtland's Snake

Kirtland's Snake
Clonophis kirtlandii

Image of Kirtland's snakeDescription

A small reddish-brown snake with four rows of black (often indistinct) blotches down its back, and a black head. The belly is pink or red with a row of black dots along each side.

Adult Length:

12 to 18 inches.

Habitat and Habits

Found in damp meadows, vacant lots, and swampy woodlands. These worm-eating snakes stay underground much of the time.


Females give birth to 5 to 8 young in late summer.

Range and Status

Kirtland's Snake has been found in the southern quarter of Michigan's lower peninsula, and scattered parts of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and north central Kentucky. The species is rare throughout its range. In Michigan, Indiana, and Pennsylvania it is considered "endangered," and in Ohio and Illinois it is considered "threatened."


James Harding
MSU Museum
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
(517) 353-7978