DEEP: Northern Water Snake

Northern Water Snake

(Nerodia S. Sipedon)

{Northern Water Snake}

IDENTIFICATION: A medium to large-size heavy-bodied snake. Its dorsum is strongly keeled, ranging from uniform dark black to a pattern of reddish brown bands on a dark background. The banded pattern is most pronounced in smaller snakes and snakes that are in the water. The venter is edged with deep red-brown, the yellow-white central portion usually darkly-pigmented with a half-moon pattern running down the midline. Females are considerably larger than males, adult total length 650-1330 mm.

Water snakes are widespread in Connecticut, flourishing in and near human-altered water bodies, including reservoirs and farm ponds. They are also found along streams and rivers, as well as wooded swamps and vernal pools. The only limiting factor to their distribution appears to be elevation. Although recorded from sites as high as 1500 feet, they are less common and more localized at higher elevations. The water snake is presently secure in Connecticut, although many are killed each year in the mistaken belief that they are venomous.

Snakes | Amphibians and Reptiles in Connecticut