East of the Mississippi River to the Appalachian Mountains. From central Illinois and Indiana, southern Ohio and western West Virginia, down to eastern Louisiana.
Very commonly encountered by people. It will live in a wide range of habitats, but prefers abandoned farm land and structures, piles of debris, and thick brush around swamps and streams.
A mostly black snake with yellow markings on its smooth, glossy scales. Usually a solid black back with yellow speckles on the sides, and a yellow ventrum with black patches. Sometimes there are thin, jagged yellow bands across the back. The sides of its face have alternating black and yellow scales, creating a series of short vertical stripes. It averages 35-48 inches in length, but can reach up to 72 inches.
Learn more with Schechter Natural History's Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians