Variable Groundsnake (Variable Ground Snake)
Family:Colubridae (nonvenomous snakes) in the order Squamata (lizards and snakes)
A small, secretive, shiny snake that is highly variable in color. It can be gray, brown, orange or even red with or without dark bands, and it has a plain white or cream colored belly with dark transverse bars on the tail.
Size:It is 8 to 12 inches (20-31 cm) long.
Habitat and conservation:Groundsnakes are usually found along rocky glades, and open, rocky woodlands on south and southwest facing slopes where they remain hidden under flat rocks and are seldom seen.
Foods:Groundsnakes eat mainly scorpions, centipedes and spiders, including the black widow.
Distribution in Missouri:Southwestern corner of the state
Status:Uncommon. Our population of groundsnakes depends on the availability of rocky glades.