Florida's Snakes thumbnail photo of snake identification guide cover

Red-bellied Mudsnake
(Farancia abacura)


solid-colored icon

Red-bellied Mudsnake

photo of red-bellied mudsnake showing triangular red markings along sides of black body

photo of anerythristic red-bellied mudsnake showing whitish, rather than red, triangular markings along sides of black body

Photos by Steve A. Johnson. These photos may not be used for any purpose without the express written permission of the photographer.


Usually 3–4 ft. (max. ~6.5 ft.)


Body is glossy blue-black. Belly is marked with a pinkish red and black checkerboard pattern; sides are marked with red marks, often triangular, that extend upward from the belly pattern. In some individuals the red pigment is lacking, and these markings are white. Iris of the eye is red. Scales are smooth. Tail is tipped with a hard, pointed scale. This snake lays eggs.


Found throughout Florida in and around freshwater habitats, including marshes, wet prairies, hardwood bottomlands, cypress swamps, rivers, lakes, and canals. This snake prefers swampy, heavily vegetated habitats and muddy bottoms and banks. It is occasionally found in brackish tidal creeks or bays.


Mostly aquatic salamanders

map showing red-bellied mudsnakes are found throughout Florida

Map by Monica E. McGarrity - may be used freely for education.

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