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Spotted: Sunbathing Beauty

Dekay’s Brownsnake

Meet our new friend we met on our walk through Illinois Canyon.

"Dekay's Brownsnake" Storeria Dekayi Oglesby, Illinois October 2021

Have you ever seen such a cute snake?? Plus she was basically posing for me for a few minutes so I could get a good shot. As it turns out, we were lucky to spot this beauty. According to one of our sources, these snakes are actually nocturnal, secretive, and seldom found out in the open!

It was a warm fall day in Illinois and we were working up a sweat as we hiked through Illinois Canyon at Starved Rock State Park. Mabel and I spotted the snake and crouched down while we watched her, curiously as she slithered out of an outcrop of the creek. She found a sunlit rock to sun bathe and that's where we were able to get some good shots to later identify the species. As cold-blooded animals, snakes rely on sunbathing to raise their body temperature. This gal had it figured out, cooling off in the water and warming up in the sun.

The Dekay's Brown Snake species are known by their dark spots under their eyes and behind the base of their heads. In the photo gallery below, note the iridescent blue colors on the head and the dots along the body. Here's some more information about these snakes according to the Illinois Natural History Survey:

Abundant where there is much surface cover and an abundant supply of food. Mates in April and May and gives birth to 5-25 young from late July through early September. Newborn 5-12 cm TL. Eats mainly earthworms and slugs, and is preyed upon by snakes, birds, mammals, and even large toads and spiders. Large numbers are killed on roads separating cultivated fields from forested rocky bluffs each spring and autumn as they move to and from hibernacula.



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