Western Ribbon Snake

Thamnophis proximus (Say, 1823)

Spanish Name Culebra Acuática
Max. Recorded Length 90 cm / 35.4 inches (SVL)
Range Arkansas, Belize, Campeche, Chiapas, Coahuila, Colorado, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Honduras, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nicaragua, Nuevo Leon, Oaxaca, Oklahoma, Puebla, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosi, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Tennessee, Texas, Veracruz, Wisconsin, Yucatan
Pet Trade Availability ★★★★ readily available
Captivity Rating ★★★☆ good

Note: These species pages are in various stages of completion. Some are basically finished; others are very much under construction. Please be patient while I work on this section.



Chiapas Highland Ribbon Snake
Thamnophis proximus alpinus Rossman, 1963
Found in Chiapas at high elevations. Spanish name: Culebra Palustre.
Arid Land Ribbon Snake
Thamnophis proximus diabolicus Rossman, 1963
Found in western and northwest Texas, eastern New Mexico, and northern Mexico. Spanish name: Pichocuate.
Gulf Coast Ribbon Snake
Thamnophis proximus orarius Rossman, 1963
Found along the Gulf Coast from the Mississippi Delta to Tamaulipas. Spanish name: Culebra Cinta Golfo Litoral.
Western Ribbon Snake
Thamnophis proximus proximus (Say, 1823)
The northeasternmost subspecies, found in eastern Texas and north and east of the Gulf Coast.
Red-striped Ribbon Snake
Thamnophis proximus rubrilineatus Rossman, 1963
An attractive red-striped subspecies limited to central Texas. Spanish name: Culebra Cinta Rayas-rojo.
Gulf Coast (?) Ribbon Snake
Thamnophis proximus rutiloris (Cope, 1885)
A Central American subspecies found from the Yucatan to Costa Rica. Spanish name: Chocoyita de Agua.


Captive Care

Very commonly seen in the pet trade.

If you have experience with this species and would like to share, please contact me.

For general information on keeping garter snakes in captivity, please see the Care Guide.

Articles and News


Bol, Steven. “Redstripe Ribbon Snake Thamnophis proximus rubrilineatus (Rossman, 1963) in the wild and in captivity.” stevenbolgartersnakes.com.

Ernst, Carl H. and Evelyn M. Ernst. 2003. Snakes of the United States and Canada. Washington: Smithsonian Books.

Harding, James H. 1997. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Great Lakes Region. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Liner, Ernest A. 1994. Scientific and Common Names for the Amphibians and Reptiles of Mexico in English and Spanish. SSAR Herpetological Circular No. 23.

Perlowin, David. 1994. The General Care and Maintenance of Garter Snakes and Water Snakes. Lakeside CA: Advanced Vivarium Systems.

Perlowin, David. 2005. Garter and Water Snakes. Irvine CA: Advanced Vivarium Systems.

Rossi, John V. and Roxanne Rossi. 2003. Snakes of the United States and Canada: Natural History and Care in Captivity. Malabar FL: Krieger.

Rossman, Douglas A., Neil B. Ford and Richard A. Seigel. 1996. The Garter Snakes: Evolution and Ecology. Norman OK: University of Oklahoma Press.

Sweeney, Roger. 1992. The Garter Snakes: Natural History and Care in Captivity. London: Blandford.

Tennant, Alan. 1998. A Field Guide to Texas Snakes. 2nd ed. Houston: Gulf.

Tennant, Alan and R. D. Bartlett. 1999. Snakes of North America: Eastern and Central Regions. Houston: Gulf.

Werler, John E. and James R. Dixon. 2000. Texas Snakes: Identification, Distribution, and Natural History. Austin: University of Texas Press.