Ribbon snakes are typically found in aquatic and areas of high vegetation such as marshes, ponds, streams, and lakes. Since they hunt for cold blooded animals, they tend to live in areas that are mainly water, making it easier for them to swim and catch their prey. Although most of them live in aquatic areas, they also tend to reside in forests or higher rocky areas.
Ribbon snakes do not eat warm blooded prey, just like their family of garter snakes do not. They are able to prey upon frogs, toads, tadpoles, small fish, spiders, earthworms, and newts. Meanwhile they fall prey to birds and larger amphibians and reptiles.