Calling for Smooth Earth Snakes or Redbelly’s

2012 Smooth Earth Snake and Redbelly Snake Population Survey

Kansas Biological Survey (KBS) still is conducting a survey of these two Kansas snakes recognized as Threatened in the State. We are looking for new populations and ask that students and teachers in the eastern counties of Kansas be on the lookout for these species in your area, and report sightings to us using the report form available at Sightings must be confirmed by us, either by a live specimen (which may be released at capture point after we confirm identification) and/or high-quality photograph. We also need detailed documentation of habitat in which you may find them! If you find either species, note the area well and contact us ASAP! We especially need people to help us in Linn and Anderson counties; email us as soon as possible if you can help.

Both species are cool-weather snakes, and are among the very earliest to emerge from hibernation. Look for them under cover objects (tin, rocks, wood) from early March on (depending upon temperature). A great way to locate these snakes is to distribute 2ftx4ft pieces of salvaged barn tin (the corrugated kind) in likely habitat, especially edge zones between woods and unmowed grass areas. Part of this effort is to determine just what sorts of habitat both species prefer, so don’t overlook pastures, woods , or whatever habitat is in your area.. Spread some tin [with landowner permission]; see what comes in! And don’t forget to remove the tin when done sampling an area..

For an overview of current Kansas records of these species, visit the Kansas Herpetofaunal Atlas pages from links on our web site (above).

To add incentive, we will award publications to people with the most confirmed sightings in new localities during 2012 as follows:

Most new localities reported: A copy of (1984) Vertebrate Ecology and Systematics; a tribute to Henry S. Fitch by R.A. Seigel, et al. and also a copy of 2nd printing (1991) Reproductive Cycles in Lizards and Snakes 1970 by Henry S. Fitch.

Second place, most new localities reported: CHOICE OF ONE OF THE FOLLOWING- a copy of 2nd printing (1980) Autecology of the Copperhead 1960 by Henry S. Fitch and also a copy of 2nd printing (1991) Reproductive Cycles in Lizards and Snakes 1970 by Henry S. Fitch.

Third place, most new localities reported:  A copy of Biology, status and management of the Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus): A guide for conservation (1993), by William S. Brown.


George Pisani
Bill Busby