Brown Snake

Save as favorite

Avg. Owner Satisfaction


(4 Reviews)

Is the Brown Snake right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: DeKay’s Snake

Scientific name: Storeria dekayi dekayi

The basics:
One of the USA’s most widespread and common snakes, this diminutive creature ranges from southern Canada through much of the eastern USA to North Carolina. Six additional subspecies are found across the rest of the USA, and in Mexico and Guatemala. The Brown Snake is equally at home in fields, swamps, forest edges or suburban yards, and even manages to survive in parks within NYC and other urban areas. It is often the first (and, in cities, the only!) snake to be found and brought home by children.

Appearance / health:
The slender, graceful Brown Snake averages a mere 9-13 inches in length, although some individuals may reach 20 inches or so. It is often confused with the Garter Snake, which occupies similar habitats. It is clad in various shades of brown (no surprises there!) or tan, with some individuals sporting a most attractive reddish hue. Two lines of black spots run along the back.

Behavior / temperament:
Shy and always on guard (they are on the menus of a great many predators!) these little snakes can rarely even be induced to bite. Stressed individuals may release musk, but most take short periods of gentle handling in stride.

A single Brown Snake will do fine in a 10 gallon aquarium; a 20 gallon will support 2-3 adults. Unlike most snakes, they do not fare well on newspapers, aspen shavings or similar substrates. Their terrarium should instead be furnished with a mixture of dead leaves and coco-husk. Most will shelter below the substrate, but a dark cave stocked with moist sphagnum moss should also be provided. The tank’s screen lid should be secured by cage clips. Due to their small size, Brown Snakes are ideal inhabitants of naturalistic terrariums provisioned with live plants. Ambient temperature: 72-78 F; Basking temperature: 85 F

If droppings are removed regularly, there is usually little need to break down and clean the entire terrarium, especially if live plants are established. The tank should be misted daily, and the moss within their cave should be kept slightly moist.

The natural diet includes earthworms, beetle grubs, slugs and other soft-bodied invertebrates. Pets do fine on a base diet of earthworms, waxworms and butterworms. A shallow water bowl should be available.

Well-adjusted Brown Snakes often delight their owners by reproducing. Five to thirty young are born alive at various times from spring through fall. Slender and measuring only 3 to 4 ½ inches in length, they might easily be mistaken for earthworms were it not for their alert demeanors and active lifestyles. A short cooling off period and reduced light cycle may encourage breeding, but is not essential.

Written by Frank Indiviglio


children, little brown snake


live plants, gentle handling, Room temperatures, naturalistic setups

Helpful Brown Snake Review

Brown Snake

From Nolaerus Feb 20 2014 12:47PM


Member photos