Kirtland's Snake

Species of Conservation Concern
Scientific Name
Clonophis kirtlandii
Colubridae (nonvenomous snakes) in the order Squamata (lizards and snakes)

A reddish brown snake with two rows of dark spots along each side and a pink to red belly with a row of black spots on each side.


Length: 14 to 18 inches.

Where To Find
Kirtland's Snake Distribution Map

Restricted to a few counties along the Mississippi River in the northeast corner of the state.

This small, hard to find, poorly known species is known from only a few states in the Midwest. It uses mainly crayfish burrows in grassland habitats that are damp and adjacent to a river, creek, or wetland. Due to loss of native grasslands, this species is extremely rare in our state.

Earthworms and slugs; occasionally crayfish and small minnows.

A Species of Conservation Concern; critically imperiled in Missouri, imperiled globally.

Media Gallery
Similar Species
About Reptiles and Amphibians in Missouri
Missouri’s herptiles comprise 43 amphibians and 75 reptiles. Amphibians, including salamanders, toads, and frogs, are vertebrate animals that spend at least part of their life cycle in water. They usually have moist skin, lack scales or claws, and are ectothermal (cold-blooded), so they do not produce their own body heat the way birds and mammals do. Reptiles, including turtles, lizards, and snakes, are also vertebrates, and most are ectothermal, but unlike amphibians, reptiles have dry skin with scales, the ones with legs have claws, and they do not have to live part of their lives in water.