The rainbow snake occurs in the south-eastern United States, south and east of the Appalachian Mountains. It is most common in South Carolina and Florida. This species lives near to water, especially on the sandy banks of rivers and streams. It is one of the most aquatic snakes in this part of the world, and is often found among floating plant debris.
Female rainbow snakes lay eggs in July. They make a small dip in the sand and deposit up to 50 eggs, each of which is about 4 cm (1.5 in) long. The snake stays with her eggs and incubates them for a while before they hatch.
This burrowing snake has a cylindrical body with glossy dark scales. There are yellow or red strips along the edges of the belly. The underside is generally red. The spine at the tip of the tail is actually a pointed horny scale.
Rainbow snakes are nocturnal hunters that lie in wait in water to ambush their prey. Adult rainbow snakes eat nothing but eels, but younger individuals eat salamanders, small fish, and tadpoles.
Distribution: Coastal plain of south-eastern United States.
Habitat: Sandy areas near water.
Size: 89 - 167 cm (35 - 66 in).
Breeding: Eggs laid in July.
Life span: Unknown.