what kind of snake is it///

Asked June 30, 2015, 10:02 AM EDT

Spotted a snake along the side of my house. About 3 ft long,black with lighter stripes going the full length and yellow almost orange belly. What is it???

Tarrant County Texas

1 Response

Thank you for your question. Without a photograph, it's difficult to make a positive identification. I don’t know of any species that exactly matches your description, but based on your county, here are two possibilities. First, is Graham’s Crayfish Snake (Regina grahami). This species can be dark brown with three stripes running down the length of the body, one on each side near the belly and one sometimes down the middle of the back. This species has a cream-colored to yellow belly. Typical size is 18 – 28 inches, but they have a maximum size of approximately 47 inches. This species lives in and around bodies of water.

A second possibility is the Texas Patch-Nosed (Salvadora grahamiae lineata). This species has stripes running the length of its body. It’s belly is olive-buff or pale green, so this doesn’t match the description of the species you observed. Typical length of this species is 26 – 40 inches.

A good reference for Texas snakes is the book, Texas Snakes – A Field Guide, by James R. Dixon and John E. Werler. If you happen to have a photograph, you can attach it to this reply and it will get back to me. Otherwise, this is the best estimate I can give you based on your description. Thank you again for using Ask an Expert.