Red-Bellied Mud Snake

Scientific Name
Farancia abacura
Also Known As
Mud Snake
All of Florida
Fish, Crustaceans, Amphibians
Life Expectancy
5 - 10 Years
The Eastern Mudsnake

Photo 19920279 © Saunders Drukker, CC BY-NC

Red-Bellied Mud Snake conservation status - Least Concern

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This Snake is Not Venomous

Red-Bellied Mud Snakes in Central Florida

The red-bellied mud snake (Farancia abacura) is a harmless, semi-aquatic colubrid species indigenous to the southeastern United States. As their name denotes, these snakes possess a distinctive red ventral surface visible when threatened. Red-bellied mudsnakes thrive in Central Florida’s subtropical climate and wetland ecosystems.

This guide provides detailed identification characteristics, natural history facts, ideal habitat conditions, diet, and prevention tips regarding red-bellied mudsnakes inhabiting Central Florida.

Appearance and Identification

Red-bellied mudsnakes can be identified by the following juvenile and adult morphological features

Adult Eastern Mudsnake

Photo 30818364 © Alexis Korotasz, CC BY-NC

Adult Mudsnakes

  • Size: Adult red-bellied mudsnakes average 20-30 inches (50-75 cm) long but can reach up to 4 feet (1.2 m).
  • Coloration: Adults exhibit olive, brown, or black dorsum with bold pink or red venter which extends onto the sides. The red ventral scales provide their common name.
  • Head: Distinctive small head with a pointed snout and large eyes featuring round pupils.
  • Body: Slender cylindrical body with smooth dorsal scales in 15 rows at midbody. The tail is relatively short at 15-20% of total length.
Juvenile Eastern Mudsnake

Photo 64499605 © Bruce Ripley, CC BY-NC

Juvenile Mudsnakes

  • Size: Hatchlings average 8-10 inches (20-25 cm) long. They reach around 16 inches (40 cm) by their first year.
  • Coloration: Juvenile coloration consists of slate gray, brown, or reddish-brow