Scarlet Snake

Scientific Name
Cemophora coccinea
Also Known As
Northern scarlet snake
All of Florida
Lizards, Small Rodents, Eggs
Life Expectancy
8 Years
The Scarlet Snake

Photo 241631335 © John Serrao, CC BY-NC

Corn Snake conservation status - Least Concern

Quick Links

This Snake is Not Venomous

The Scarlet Snake in Central Florida

The scarlet snake (Cemophora coccinea) is a common yet secretive snake inhabiting central Florida. Often confused with the venomous coral snake, the scarlet snake is a harmless and beneficial reptile that preys on lizards, snakes, and rodents. This comprehensive guide provides detailed identification tips, biology facts, and information on scarlet snake habits and habitat preferences in central Florida.

Read on to learn scarlet-snake characteristics, behavior, reproduction, ideal environment, diet, and prevention of accidental bites.

Scarlet Snake Subspecies in the Area

Florida Scarlet Snake

The Florida scarlet Snake (Cemophora coccinea coccinea) is a unique subspecies found only in Florida’s southern peninsula. Genetic isolation has led to distinct traits like their bright red belly coloration. They also have divided anal plate scales and grow under 20 inches long. Living in scrub and sandhills, their adaptations suit the habitat, like small size for hunting lizards in sandy soils. Loss of scrub habitat has greatly reduced their limited range.

Calling them a distinct subspecies stresses the need for habitat protection. Preserving Florida’s remaining scrub is critical for the scarlet Snake’s survival. Recognizing their status draws attention to their decline from habitat destruction. Protecting scrub allows this rare Florida subspecies to persist within its small isolated range.

Appearance and Identification

Scarlet snakes can be identified by their distinct color pattern and morphological features

Adult Scarlet Snake

Photo Tommy Hamrick © Tommy Hamrick, CC BY-NC

Adult Scarlet Snakes

  • Size: Adults average 14-20 inches (35-50 cm) long. The record length i