Kirtland’s snake averages 14 to 18 inches in length. It has a red belly with a row of round, black spots down each side. The scales are keeled (ridged). The body is gray or brown above with four rows of black blotches that may be difﬁcult to see.
Kirtland’s snake may be found in northeastern and central Illinois. This snake is aquatic, but it is often found on land. It lives in or near wet meadows, swamps, wooded hillsides and adjacent meadows, parks and urban areas. It can ﬂatten its body when disturbed and hold this position for a long time. It hides under rocks, boards or in crayﬁsh burrows during the day. Mating occurs in May. The female gives birth to four to 15 young in August or September. This snake eats earthworms, leeches, ﬁshes and slugs.