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While moving large, old oak logs I'd stacked a year ago to form a terraced garden, I noticed it was very moist under the logs.

I saw 5 kingsnakes, a scarlet snake, a couple of small brown earth snakes and an unidentified snake:

  • Thicker body than the King snakes, very skinny head, 3-4 feet long, and almost all brown.

Can you identify the snake?

enter image description here

Note: Picture taken from about 10 feet away. The debris on the snake pictured is sawdust and wood pieces.

We catch, picture and release kingsnakes, rat snakes and hog nosed snakes all the time, but this one escaped before capture or a good picture. Only one copperhead in 18 years.

Location: Gasconade County, MO (USA; 1 mile from Rosebud, MO).

  • We have a 1.5 acre pond about 80 yards from the picture site.
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It looks a lot like a rough earthsnake (Haldea striatula -- also called Virginia striatula) or a prairie kingsnake (Lampropeltis calligaster), also called "mole" kingsnake. You can see photos at the MO Dept of Conservation.

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  • $\begingroup$ This answer comes across more as a comment than a complete answer. Please provide evidence/reasoning beyond "looks a lot like". That reasoning unfortunately leads to many inaccurate species IDs. Please put a bit more time/effort into your answer, and you'll likely be rewarded by some upvotes. (also, included pictures often help when possible). You can find additional pointers to writing good answers on our help page. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – theforestecologist Jan 17 '18 at 5:02
  • $\begingroup$ With my current reputation score, I can not submit comments until I submit an answer. Should I therefore never submit an answer if it only provides a best guesss? And as a long-term professional herpetologist, I would argue that a best guess is about all one can do with a photo of a snake taken from a distance. My answer was based on all available evidence: location, relative size, color, shape, etc of the specimen. Not sure why that warrants a -1 (no other answers were given; isn't expert opinion better than nothing?) $\endgroup$ – prefectionist Jan 19 '18 at 14:55

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