The redbelly snake, Storeria occipitomaculata, is a species of eastern North America. It is a small snake that feeds on soft-bodied invertebrates, such as slugs, that it finds in moist areas under cover items such as rocks, logs, and decaying plant litter. The life history of redbelly snakes is geographically variable, so studies in other regions may not help us to understand the life history of populations in the Black Hills, where they have not been studied. The species is divided into three subspecies, two of which are found exclusively in the eastern United States. The third is found in the west and was thought by taxonomists to be confined to the Black Hills. A recent specimen found near Bison, however, shows that redbelly snakes may be more widely distributed in South Dakota than previously thought.
The Black Hills redbelly snake, Storeria occipitomaculata pahasapae, was described in 1963 from the Black Hills. However other studies have found them in Minnesota, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Manitoba. Within the Black Hills, the snake is thought to inhabit most habitats that are threatened by encroaching ponderosa pine forest. The snakes may be threatened by loss of habitat, as wetlands are disappearing in the Black Hills. This may affect their prey, possibly slugs, which are very susceptible to desiccation. Management for the Black Hills redbelly snake would mean the preservation of these habitats and returning the historical diversity of habitats that occurred throughout the Black Hills.