This small, secretive snake is similar in appearance to garter snakes. The dark stripes are grayish brown, dark gray, or olive gray. There are three light stripes, one along the back and one on each side. The light stripes are light gray, white, or yellow. The belly is white with two distinct rows of dark gray spots or half-moon shapes along the midline. When captured, it will release a foul-smelling musk from glands at the base of the tail. It seldom bites when handled.