Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

Squamata     suborder Serpentes
Tropidoclonion lineatum -- Lined Snake

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Sangamon County, IL; photo by Mike Redmer distribution map

Purple shade indicates vouchered specimens. Light blue (cyan) shade indicates photographic records. Yellow shade indicates verified sighting. Slanted hatch indicates pre-1980 records only

NOTE: Not all specimens upon which these maps are based have been verified.

Key Characteristics: White to gray midback stripe and another on each side; double row of dark half-moons extends down the midbelly; back scales keeled; anal plate not divided.

Similar Species: Common garter snake, plains garter snake.

Subspecies: Northern lined snake, T. l. lineatum.

Description: Small (up to 35 cm TL), slender olive brown to gray-brown snake. Each pale stripe is bordered by a row of minute black dots (dots more conspicuous in young). Head small, barely wider than body.

Habitat: Grasslands and urban lots in former prairie, where it is found under rocks, logs, leaves, boards, and other debris.

Natural History: Active March to November, spending less time at the surface during hot summers and more after heavy rains. Mates in late August and 5-10 young are born the following August or September. Newborn are 7-12 cm TL. This secretive and semifossorial nocturnal snake subsists almost entirely on earthworms. Predators include other snakes, birds, and mammals. Often curls its tail into a tight coil when disturbed, but otherwise passive.

Status: Rare and known from only a few scattered localities, mostly urban vacant lots, in central counties.


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