Cemophora coccinea
Cemophora Coccinea
Physical description
Binomial nameCemophora coccinea
Lifespan10-15 years
Average Size14-26 inches
Conservational Status
IUCN statusIUCN 3.1
Scientific classification
SpeciesC. coccinea
Distribution of speciessouthern USA

Cemophora coccinea (Blumenbach, 1788) is a nonvenomous species of colubrid snake commonly known as the scarlet snake. It is the only member of its genus. They are native to the southeastern United States. There are three subspecies of C. coccinea.

Description Edit

Scarlet snakes are relatively small snakes, growing to 14-26 inches (36–66 cm) at adult size. They are a base light gray in color, with black bordered red blotches down their back. Their belly is a uniform light gray color. Their blotches can extend down to the sides of the body, appearing somewhat like banding, which sometimes leads to confusion with the venomous coral snake or the harmless scarlet king snake.

Behavior Edit

Scarlet snakes are nocturnal, and generally spend their day hiding under leaf litter or fallen logs, and venture out in the evenings to forage for food. They feed on lizards, small rodents, reptile eggs, and even other snakes.

Reproduction Edit

Scarlet snakes are oviparous, generally laying 3-8 eggs per clutch. Breeding occurs throughout the spring months, and eggs are laid throughout the summer and hatch in the early fall.

Geographic distribution Edit

They are found only in the United states, in: southeastern Texas, eastern Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware; with disjunct populations in New Jersey and central Missouri.

Subspecies Edit

  • Northern scarlet snake, Cemophora coccinea copei
  • Florida scarlet snake, Cemophora coccinea coccinea
  • Texas scarlet snake, Cemophora coccinea lineri

References Edit

External links Edit

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