What kind of snakes have a yellow belly?

Answered by Michael Wilson

There are several species of snakes that have a yellow belly, but one notable example is the western yellow-bellied racer (Coluber constrictor mormon). This particular subspecies is found exclusively in the Western United States, specifically in states such as California, Oregon, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Montana, and Colorado.

The western yellow-bellied racer, also known as the western yellowbelly racer or western racer, is a slender and fast-moving snake. It is part of the colubrid family, which includes a wide variety of non-venomous snakes. This subspecies is known for its distinctive yellow belly, which contrasts with its darker-colored back and sides.

One of the reasons the western yellow-bellied racer is named as such is because of its vibrant yellow belly. This yellow coloration serves a purpose in the snake’s natural habitat. When the snake is threatened or feels in danger, it will often flip onto its back, exposing its bright yellow belly as a warning to potential predators. This behavior is known as “belly flashing” and is a common defensive strategy among many snake species.

The yellow belly of the western yellow-bellied racer is an important characteristic for identification purposes. However, it is essential to note that not all snakes with a yellow belly are necessarily western yellow-bellied racers. There are other species of snakes, both venomous and non-venomous, that may have a yellow or yellowish belly as well.

For instance, some species of garter snakes, such as the common garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis), often have a yellow or yellowish-orange belly. These snakes are widespread across North America and can be found in various habitats, including wetlands, grasslands, and forests. Garter snakes are known for their docile nature and are commonly kept as pets.

Another snake species with a yellow belly is the corn snake (Pantherophis guttatus). These snakes are native to the southeastern United States but are also popular as pets worldwide. Corn snakes have a distinct pattern on their back and sides, often consisting of reddish-brown or orange blotches on a light background color. Their belly is typically a pale yellow or cream color.

In addition to these examples, there are other snake species that may exhibit a yellow belly or have individuals with yellow coloration. It is important to consult field guides or seek expert advice for proper identification, as snake coloration can vary within species and even among individuals.

Snakes with a yellow belly can be found in various regions and habitats. The western yellow-bellied racer, with its vibrant yellow belly, is a notable example of a snake species endemic to the Western United States. However, it is crucial to consider the specific characteristics and distribution of each snake species to accurately identify and understand its unique features.