Seeing a snake with an orange belly can be quite a sight! A very radiant, vibrant belly can also inject fear into you as well! We often associate exotic colors on a snake, such as orange- to signify danger and something which should cause us concern.
So then should you fear snakes with orange bellies? Or are they nothing to worry about?
In this article, we will Compare all snakes that have an orange belly and help you identify a snake you might have seen recently.
What kind of Snakes have an Orange Belly?
Ring Necked Snake
One of the most common types of snakes with an orange belly, is the Ring-Necked snake (Genus Diadophis Type Punctatus). Found mainly in New Mexico and Utah, these snakes are mildly venomous however, their fangs are rear facing and exceedingly small! Furthermore, these snakes do not have an aggressive nature what-so-ever, making them safe to handle.
What make these snakes so unique, is not only their vibrant orange-red bellies, but if you look at their neck you will see part of its belly outlined in a ring format.
Plain-Bellied Snake (Garter Snake)
Another type of snake to feature the infamous orange belly is the Plain-Bellied snake (Genus Nerodia Type Erythgroaster). Although an ironic name, they are a quite common and familiar species within the USA. These snakes are non-venomous and aquatic- meaning you will find them near water (lakes, streams, ponds, etc).
The plain-bellied snake gets its ironic name, due to the fact it has no patterning on their underside. They are very defensive- and they will strike repeatedly and try to make their head look flat- therefore, many people mistake this snake for a venomous cottonmouth.
Mud Snakes (Genus Farancia Type Abacura), also have red-orange bellies. These are a lot larger than both the Ring-Neck and the Plain Bellied. They are non-venomous and semiaquatic- meaning it resides mostly in swampy areas.
Their upper part of their body is a nice smooth- gloss black. Then their lower part, is orange-red and black. These snakes are nocturnal- and can jab their prey using their sharp tails- therefore, the nickname for these snakes is ‘stinging snake’- despite their tails having no sting in them at all!
Read More: Are Black Snakes Poisonous
Red Bellied Water Snake
The Red Bellied Water snake (Genus Nerodia Type Erythrogaster), is a non-venomous aquatic water snake. Although they are called Red Bellied Water Snakes, some of them have orange bellies! Sounds ironic, but due to genetics this is the case. They do look like ring-neck snakes, just a bit larger. These snakes are not violent, and they are not venomous.
Red Bellied Black Snakes
Red bellied black snakes, (Genus Pseudechis Type Porphyriacus), is the only snake on this list not from North America. It is in fact from Australia, where most of their 130 snake types, are venomous! The red bellied black snake joins that list of venomous snakes, as this can make victims lose their sense of smell. Do not get it mixed up with the Red bellied Water snake, their Genus and habitats are completely different! 7Some of these snakes do have orange bellies- although most don’t.
Do Water Moccasins Have Orange Bellies?
Water Moccasins are also known as the Cotton Mouth Snake – (Genus Agkistrodon Type Piscivorus). These snakes are the only venomous water snake in the USA. They have a dangerous bite- and can easily be mistaken as a Plain-Bellied water snake due to colours and their triangle head. They have thick muscular bodies- and heat sensing facial pits between their eyes and nostrils because they are pit vipers. These snakes mainly have a cream coloured belly with dark brown or black blotches. However, their belly can sometimes be mistaken as an orange belly- therefore mistaken as a Plain-Bellied water snake.
These snakes are aggressive. However, they are more bark than bite. A Moccasin (Cotton Mouth Snake), will rarely bite humans. When they feel threatened, they will coil and deter threats by opening their mouth to expose their white correlation. You will find these snakes within the Everglades, lakes and other forms of open water- since they are water snakes.
Do Garter Snakes Have Orange Bellies?
Garter snakes, (Genus Thamnophis) are harmless small to medium sized snakes within North and Central America. The most common type of Garter Snake is the type Siratlis- also known as the common garter snake. Garter snakes vary hugely in colours, with common colours being blue, yellow and brown. These snakes don’t necessarily have an orange belly- but some do have orange stripes. Their bellies are usually pale green or yellow.
Also read: Where do Garter Snakes Hide
Types Of Snakes With Orange Bellies
Black Snakes With An Orange Belly
These snakes would be Ring-Necked snakes. A very distinctive snake with a black upper body and an orange body.
Also read: Do Black Snakes Keep Copperheads Away?
Grey Snakes With An Orange Belly
These are Ring-Necked snakes, Red Bellied Water Snakes or Red Bellied Black snakes. This is a common combination for all three water snakes- despite the Red Bellied Black Snake having a wildly different habitat.
As previously mentioned, Ring-Neck snakes and Red Bellied Water Snakes are from North America. Whilst Red-Bellied Black snakes are from Australia.
Furthermore, Red Bellied Black snakes are a lot more venomous than the other two and can make their victims lose their sense of smell. However, there have been no deaths reported from these reptiles.
Dark Grey Snakes With An Orange Belly
These are again, Ring Neck snakes. In particular, Northern Ring-Necked snakes which are usually found in areas such as Ontario Canada.
Brown Snakes With An Orange Belly
These would be Red Bellied Water snake (not to be confused with the Australian Red Bellied Black Snakes). These are usually dark brown, light brown or grey. They have a bright orange belly- making them distinctive.
Tan Snakes With An Orange Belly
These are mainly Ring-Neck snakes or Garter Snakes. However, this can be a rare colour combination.
Baby Snakes With An Orange Belly
Seeing a baby snake with an orange belly, is hugely fascinating! They look like worms- but they are so much more advanced! Baby snakes with an orange belly will usually be Ring Neck snakes or Plain Bellied snakes. Their bellies at birth will be very vibrant and have a high saturation.
Are Orange Bellied Water Snakes Poisonous?
Now this is an especially important question and probably a huge concern for people who see these snakes. It has been known that other reptiles with exotic coloured bellies are deadly- however what about water snake with orange bellies? Only one type of water snake with a orange belly is poisonous which is the Water Moccasin (Cotton Mouth Snake)- which is the only poisonous water snake in North America.
These snakes are venomous and can leave a nasty wound- and potentially can kill depending on the condition(s) of the victim.
The other orange-bellied water snakes are not poisonous at all. Although, by touching their belly you won’t be affected what-so-ever, you should always take precise care when dealing with these reptiles- as they can bite.
What Are The Water Snakes Which Have An Orange Belly?
There are a few Water Snakes which have an orange belly. One of the main ones is the Plain Bellied Water Snake and water Moccasin’s (Cotton Mouth snakes). Annoyingly both these snakes look alike! They are like the extent that a water Moccasin is venomous whilst a Plain Bellied Water Snake is a harmless garter snake! The obvious way to find out is if you see inside the mouth of a Moccasin or a Plain Bellied Garter snake. These two are the main aquatic snakes which have an orange belly.
Ring Snakes could be included; however, these nocturnal reptiles are not fully classed as aquatic and don’t necessarily reside near the water. That is also the same with the semi aquatic mud snake.
Two other snakes which have types with orange bellies are the Red Bellied Water Snakes and the Australian Red Bellied Black Snakes. Both should not get mixed up because of habitat, behaviour type and size. Although both these snakes commonly have red bellies: some have orange bellies.
Snakes With Orange Bellies That Live In Florida
Florida has an exceedingly high level of biodiversity. Therefore, there are a lot of reptiles such as snakes, alligators etc within the state. The sunshine state has perfect conditions for cold blooded creatures like the snake. A lot of water snakes live in Florida and these do include the Plain Bellied Snake and Water Moccasins (Cotton Mouth Snakes)- which are both quite common within the state. Furthermore, snakes such as the ring-necked snake are also found within Florida- but as they are nocturnal, they are a lot harder to see.
Mud snakes tend to rest in the everglades within Florida. They are a lot harder to find since the everglades are infested with Alligators- it is then a lot harder to reach them even if you are fishing. The everglades is not a place most people would want to visit due to the amount of alligators and also Moccasin Snakes (Cotton Mouth snakes) there is residing there.
Snakes with orange bodies are incredibly unique! It certainly is a sight, which you would want to photograph! The vibrant, bright, deep orange colours will mesmerise you! Most of these orange bellied snakes live in North America, however some do live in Australia. Furthermore, most orange bellied snakes are not poisonous and not violent. The only exceptions are Water Moccasins (Cotton Mouth snakes), and Red Bellied Black snakes.
You do have to be careful with both the Plain Bellied Snake (Garter) and the Water Moccasins (Venomous). It is quite common; people shoot the poor Garter snake as they mistake it for a Moccasin. However, on the flip side, some people mistake the Moccasin for a harmless Plain Bellied Garter Snake, which can lead to injury.
Most Snakes with orange bellies reside in the highly biodiverse state of Florida, as it has the perfect conditions for water snakes. A lot tend to reside in the everglades; however, others reside within lakes, rivers and other water sources.
The only nocturnal snake on this list is the ring-necked snake. Therefore, it may be a common snake; you most likely won’t see it at all unless you are out during the night. These snakes are very distinctive, and they also are harmless. These are probably the most common and well-known type of snake, to have an orange belly.
These snakes will not poison you if you touch their bellies since there are no glands on them. They are not like other reptiles who carry venom on their skin like poison dart frogs. The Plain Bellied Garter, Mud Snake, Red Bellied Water snake and the Ring Neck Snake are fine to hold sensibly. However, the Moccasin may feel threatened and the Red Bellied black snake will most likely bite you if you try to pick it up!