I recently came across a Brown Snake in my yard, possibly the same reason you’re looking for information on small brown snakes too. I have since found 3 others around the same size as well. After doing some research I found it is called a Brown Snake, more specifically a DeKay’s Brown snake. (Storeria dekayi) They are common in gardens, fields, forests, woods, and even urban areas. Anywhere with food and shelter is a possible home. They do hibernate in winter, mostly in holes in the ground. Though in Urban areas could be found in walls or inside cracked foundations.
It was first found by American zoologist James Ellsworth DeKay (1792-1851) in Long Island, NY. Hence the name “DeKay” Brown snake. There are 9 sub species of the Dekay Brown Snake as well. Per Wikipedia they are as follows
I first posted this article on another site and have since found another in the same rock pile as others last year. They are very timid, this one just crawled away as we worked in the area.
There are nine recognized subspecies of S. dekayi:
- Storeria dekayi anomala Dugès, 1888
- Northern brown snake, Storeria dekayi dekayi (Holbrook, 1836)
- marsh brown snake, Storeria dekayi limnetes Anderson, 1961
- Storeria dekayi temporalineata Trapido, 1944
- Texas brown snake, Storeria dekayi texana Trapido, 1944
- Storeria dekayi tropica Cope, 1885
- Florida brown snake, Storeria dekayi victa Hay, 1892
- Midland brown snake, Storeria dekayi wrightorum Trapido, 1944
- Mexican yellowbelly brown snake, Storeria hidalgoensis Taylor, 1942Subspecies per Wikipedia
They are good to have around a garden as they eat worms, slugs and snails. So if you see one, leave it be. They are not harmful at all and hardly intimidating being only 12″ long or less on average. The record size being 19″ and some change. They are brown with a ligther colored center striped being bordered by black spots. Certain sub species can vary in appearance as well. This snake can be found from Central America all the way to parts of Canada. They are fairly common but being so small and with colors that blend well you’ll likely miss them unless you’re really looking. If you are lucky enough to see a baby it will be about the same of a worm, very small. The young dine on the same food as adults only much smaller prey items. As mentioned earlier you can find them in many enviroments from urban areas to natural woods, as long as there is food and cover. I found one under a piece of old carpet laying on some gravel, one crawling through some large river rock in a field, and another under a piece of slate in some grass. All within a few hundred feet of each other. So if you have found a small brown snake and wonder what it is, it could be a Dekays Brown Snake. Check out the photos below to compare, remember each sub species can vary a bit though.