University of Kansas Field Station

Ecology of the Smooth Earth Snake (Virginia valeriae) and Redbelly Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata) in northeastern Kansas

Smooth Earth Snake (Virginia valeriae)
Photo by George Pisani
Date June 2009 - August 2011
Contact William H. Busby
Kansas Dept. of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism
Location Northeast Kansas


We are studying the distribution and habitat requirements of two state-threatened species, Smooth Earth Snake, Virginia valeriae, and Redbelly Snake, Storeria occipitomaculata. These small, poorly known snakes have a patchy distribution in the deciduous forest zone of eastern Kansas. We are monitoring transects with cover boards placed in different habitats to learn more about their ecology, including associations with ant nests as overwintering sites, seasonal habitat use, movement patterns, and diet. Funded by a State Wildlife Grant, this project aims to inform and enhance resource and conservation planning for the two species.


William H. Busby

George Pisani


Published Work

Pisani, G., W. H. Busby. 2011. Ecology of the smooth earth snake (Virginia valeriae) and redbelly snake (Storeria occipitomaculata) in northeastern Kansas. Kansas Biological Survey, Lawrence, KS Report No. 172:37 pp.