Fun Rainbow Snake Facts For Kids

Christian Mba
Feb 08, 2023 By Christian Mba
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Deeti Gupta
Rainbow snake facts about how they eat their prey alive.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.8 Min

Many people find snakes repulsive, but they might be forced to change their opinion once they see the rainbow snake with its beautiful shiny colors and unique perfect body patterns.

The rainbow snake is also sometimes known as an eel moccasin because the adults mainly feed on the eels. The rainbow snake is very susceptible to its predators' attacks as it is not poisonous or aggressive enough to injure its predator.

It just coils with its head down and tail pointed up when threatened. The black rainbow snake has bluish-black glossy skin, three red lines, and yellow and black spots. This black one is the most common rainbow snake in the United States.

If these rainbow snake facts interest you, then read on to find out more about this fantastic reptile. If you love to know more about snake species, check out our hognose snake and the eastern diamondback rattlesnake facts.

Rainbow Snake Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a rainbow snake?

A rainbow snake (Farancia erytrogramma) is a reptile. They are long, colorful, non-venomous, and highly aquatic snakes.

What class of animal does a rainbow snake belong to?

Rainbow snakes belong to the class Reptilia. Like all snakes, these snakes are cold-blooded, which means that they can adjust their body temperature as per the surroundings.

How many rainbow snakes are there in the world?

The exact number of rainbow snakes in the world is not known. It is believed that there are many rainbow snakes available in North America. Some predominant subspecies of rainbow snake (Farancia erytrogramma) include Farancia erytrogramma erytrogramma (common rainbow snake) and Farancia erytrogramma seminola (south Florida rainbow snake).

Where does a rainbow snake live?

The rainbow snakes are found in various aquatic habitats of North America, Southern Virginia to Louisiana, marshes of Southern Maryland, and Lake Okeechobee in Sothern Florida.

What is a rainbow snake's habitat?

Rainbow snakes are found in highly aquatic habitats. The common rainbow snake (Farancia Erytrogramma) is found in brackish water, cypress swamps, backwater creeks, marshes, streams, and sandy coastal plain.

The rainbow snake (Florida) is found in Lake Okeechobee of southern Florida and spends most of its time hidden in the aquatic debris and aquatic vegetation, and hence it is rarely seen.

Who do rainbow snakes live with?

Riinbow snakes live on their own in their territories except for the mating season. After the mating season, the male leaves, and the female lays eggs and incubates them. After the eggs hatch, the female also leaves, and hatchlings are left to manage independently.

How long does a rainbow snake live?

The exact number of years lived by the rainbow snake is not known. But the mud snake, which is a close relative of the rainbow snake, has a lifespan of 19 years, hence it is believed that rainbow snake can also live up to 19 years.

How do they reproduce?

Rainbow snakes follow a polygynandrous system of mating. They breed once yearly, and after mating, males usually leave and do not help raise the young ones.

The females usually lay about 20 eggs in a damp nest near a water source and incubate the eggs until they hatch. The gestation period for the rainbow snakes is about 60-80 days. Once the egg hatches, the hatchlings do not get any further care from the females.

These juvenile rainbow snakes move to nearby rivers, lakes, marshes, or streams when conditions are suitable. These juvenile rainbow snakes achieve sexual maturity after two or three years.

What is their conservation status?

The rainbow snakes are abundantly found in America and have been put under the Least Concern category. Based on a petition by the Center for Biodiversity Florida, the government declared the Florida rainbow snakes extinct.

However, the recent Florida rainbow snake photo by an American woman proved that it is not extinct. So, the center is considering placing the Florida rainbow snake under the Endangered list.

Rainbow Snake Fun Facts

What do rainbow snakes look like?

The rainbow snake or the eel moccasin) is a reptile, and its total length is up to 66 in (168 cm) and has a pointed tail. Adult rainbow snakes mostly have a black back and have three red stripes running across their back.

It is usually red-bellied and has rows of black spots on the belly. On either side of the head, they have yellow patches or spots.

The whole body is covered in scales, and they exhibit sexual dimorphism. Females have more posterior scale rows than males, females have a thick tail and are larger in length than males.

They are closely related to mud snakes (Farancia abacura), but they differ in the number of internasal scales. Mud snakes have only one internasal scale, whereas rainbow snakes have two.

Know how rainbow snakes look like and their habitat.

How cute are they?

The beauty standards are different for different people. Some people find adult rainbow snakes attractive with their black back, rows of black spots, three red stripes running across, red belly, and red yellow or black spots on either side of the head, whereas some people find them highly repulsive.

How do they communicate?

Not much is known about how the rainbow snakes communicate with each other. But it is believed that just like their cousin, the mud snake, they must also be communicating via the sense of heat, ground vibrations, chemicals, vision, and sense of smell.

How big is a rainbow snake?

Rainbow snakes are about 3-4 ft (91-122 cm) in length. The total length of females is approximately 65 in (165.1 cm), whereas males are 42 in (106.7 cm).

How fast can a rainbow snake move?

The exact speed of rainbow snakes is not known. As snakes do not have limbs they can move fast by the contraction and relaxation of their body muscles. These rainbow snakes are excellent swimmers because of their lateral body movements, which creates an S-shape that helps move forward.

How much does a rainbow snake weigh?

Rainbow snakes' average weight is not known. However, females can be slightly heavier than males owing to their greater length.

What are their male and female names of the species?

Rainbow snakes do not have any specific names for their male and female species. Males are known as male rainbow snakes, and females are known as female rainbow snakes.

What would you call a baby rainbow snake?

Baby rainbow snakes are called hatchling snakes or juvenile rainbow snakes. Young snakes lack yellow coloration on their skin but look exactly like the adult rainbow snakes.

What do they eat?

Juvenile rainbow snakes eat earthworms, salamander larvae, fish, tadpoles, and tiny frogs. Adult rainbow snakes eat mainly American eels, which are part of their staple diet. They can eat their prey alive by swallowing the head first, followed by the whole body.

Are they poisonous?

The rainbow snakes have been found in cypress swamps, slow-moving streams, and close to other waterbodies. They look dangerous, but they are non-venomous snakes. They are dangerous to their prey as they eat them alive, but they are not dangerous to humans as they are non-poisonous and non-venomous.

Would they make a good pet?

Rainbow snakes make an excellent pet if you love exotic pets. Only experienced snake owners can maintain them as pets due to their distinctive requirements. Rainbow snakes' exact cost is unknown, but it is believed to be between $200-300 USD.

A terrarium habitat is great for a rainbow snake. Rainbow snakes require a 55-75 U.S. gal (208.1-283.9 l) aquarium with enough moist substrate like cypress mulch, eucalyptus bark, and it should also have enough dry area.

A large bowl of water for the snake to dip in and swim without overflowing the water should be placed inside the aquarium. The terrarium should be maintained between 75-85 F (23.8-29.4 C).

They must be fed American eels and similar fish. The aquarium should be cleaned occasionally to prevent any infections of the snake.

Did you know...

The rainbow snake's scientific name Farancia erytrogramma has a Greek origin. 'Erytro' means red, and 'gramma' means lines in greek.

Why is the rainbow snake endangered?

The habitat of rainbow snakes is getting destroyed in many places like Florida and Maryland due to the building of reservoirs, urbanization, and polluting the water bodies. In Florida and Maryland, the government is considering keeping the rainbow snake under the Endangered list, and various laws have been made for the protection of the species and its habitat.

Can you own a rainbow snake?

It is not suggested to own a rainbow snake as a pet due to its unique habitat and food requirements. Moreover, it is illegal to keep them as pets in some countries because of their endangered status.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other reptiles including rattlesnake, or corn snake.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our angry snake coloring pages.

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Written by Christian Mba

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

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Christian MbaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba is an experienced blogger and content writer with over a decade of experience. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Nigeria and has a keen interest in Python programming. Along with his writing and blogging expertise, he is also an SEO specialist with more than six years of experience. Chris, as he is commonly known, has a passion for music and enjoys playing the piano.

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Fact-checked by Deeti Gupta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

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Deeti GuptaBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

A detail-oriented fact-checker with a research-oriented approach. Devika has a passion for creative writing, she has been published on multiple digital publishing platforms and editorials before joining the Kidadl team. Currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from St.Xavier's College, Deeti has won several accolades and writing competitions throughout her academic career.

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