Storeria dekayi ‘wrightorum’
St. Louis Co., Missouri, Spring 1972.
See the date! This is the little serpent that started me on a life-long journey. Our back yard was full of them, and the first one I found proved to be a source of utter fascination and the springboard for an obsession now over thirty years old. They don’t get very big, and they’re not the most colorful of snakes, but they are interesting in their own right. Originally, they were inhabitants of damp areas – marshes, swamps and the like. When humans usurped and did away with their places to live, the little snakes moved in underfoot, taking up residence in populated areas, living in backyards under stones and leaf litter and any debris that affords shelter. Junk yards, dumps and other places where people dump things are good places to find Storeria dekayi. In the spring, it was easy for me to see several dozen in an afternoon at a vacant lot I visited, and sometimes I could find large numbers under a single board or piece of metal. Decades later, I still enjoy meeting them now again out in the field, and even better, I discovered that I have them in my back yard here in Champaign. Small, secretive and adaptable, brown snakes are hanging in there! Subspecies have been sunk for Storeria dekayi, but I continue to recognize them anyway – they’ve been with me for most of my life.
HerpMapper records for this species are here.