How to Identify the Northern Water Snake

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The Northern Water Snake is a large, nonvenomous snake that inhabits freshwater habitats across North America. The body is a uniform dull gray or brown, usually with a row of dark spots down the back and a light belly.

The most notable feature of a juvenile watersnake is its distinctive yellow dorsal stripe, which is the only species with this characteristic. As it matures, the dorsal stripe can fade to an orange or brown color. Adults have a dark pattern on the lower jaw and upper lip that includes blotches and/or stripes.

The Northern Water Snake is usually found in creeks, streams, ponds, and other still freshwater habitats. They are typically olive green or brown in color and can grow to lengths of 3-6 feet. You might see these snakes on the banks or near the water’s edge during typical activity periods that last from April to October.

Identifying the Northern Water Snake can be difficult, but this article has some pointers on how to do it correctly. Learn about the different variations of color, size, and patterns of the snake, as well as what they like to eat.

What is a Northern Water Snake

A Northern Water Snake is a non-venomous reptile native to North America. They are usually brown, tan, or gray with darker shades on the brown blotches that run the length of their back. They have a dark line that splits a row of scales down the middle of their backs and they have a long slender body.

The watersnake’s coloration is variable, though it is usually a mottled dark pattern on a lighter background. It has a round head with a light-colored stripe from eye to jaw.

The crown of the head has black spots, and may also have a black streak from the eye to the corner of the mouth. They are most commonly found in freshwater habitats such as rivers, lakes, marshes, ponds, and creeks.

One of the most common species in North America, the watersnake is an excellent swimmer and can be found near water. This article will show you how to identify a watersnake based on its physical characteristics.

Common Northern Water Snake

Watersnakes are Nonvenomous

Watersnakes are not venomous. They are harmless to humans, even with the possibility of people stepping on them. If bitten, they will release a foul-tasting substance.

Watersnakes are not considered to be invasive species because they do not reproduce in large enough numbers to pose that kind of threat. One common watersnake is the Eastern Cottonmouth, which has a white chin and underbelly and can grow up to four feet long.


Northern Water Snakes are 7-12 inches in length with some reaching up to 18 inches. The largest recorded was 35 inches long.

How Do You Identify One?

Northern water snakes are a type of non-venomous snake that is native to North America. They have smooth, shiny scales and can be identified by their black coloring with a yellowish-brown underside.

Northern water snakes are a type of non-venomous snake that is indigenous to North America. They have smooth, shiny scales and can be identified by their black coloring with a yellowish-brown underside.

There are three types of water snakes in North America. The first is the Banded Water Snake, which is usually dark brown with white or yellow bands. They can grow to be about 4-5 feet long and are found in coastal regions in Southern California.

Next are the Brown Water Snakes, which are usually light brown but have many different colors that can range from light tan to black. This snake lives in freshwater or near the coasts of Florida and Texas because they cannot tolerate saltwater.

Lastly is the Yellow Rat Snake, which is also known as a corn snake. It has a blunt nose at the end of its snout and has brown blotches on a lighter background color.

Common Behaviors

Northern water snakes are usually found near water such as streams, rivers, and lakes. They like to eat frogs, fish, and other small animals that live in these areas. Northern water snakes can grow up to six feet long and their color varies from light brown to black with a yellowish stripe running down the length of its back.

Habitat and Prey

The water snake can be found in and around swampy, wet areas and wetlands. It will often be found near the shore of a body of water. If you see it on land, it is likely only searching for food or basking in the sun.

Watersnakes live in a variety of environments such as swamps, marshes, and wet woods. They feed on other snakes, rats, mice, and small birds. They will bite if provoked or if they feel threatened. The color and pattern of their skin depending on the environment and can change depending on where they live.

What To Do If You See a Watersnake

There are three different types of water snakes; the Northern Copperhead, the Northern Cottonmouth, and the Black Racer. While they may look similar to each other, they all have distinctive features that make them easy to identify.

The Northern Copperhead looks like a copper penny with a dark hourglass on the back of its head. The Northern Cottonmouth is black with rows of white spots down its body. The Black Racer has a stripe on its neck that runs across the top of its head to its mouth.

Reproduction, Adult Size, and Lifespan

The northern water snake is the largest species in the United States, averaging up to six feet in length. Males are usually larger than females. Females lay eggs, typically 10-20 eggs per clutch, that hatch into snakes that are about 6 inches long. Northern water snakes have an average lifespan of ten years.

The watersnake lays eggs in the summer. The eggs hatch about 8 weeks later. Watersnakes are born with their egg sacs still attached to their tail and they will live in this sac for up to 2 weeks. They can grow to be up to 4 feet long and live up to 10 years.


The Northern water snake is a non-venomous snake found in the United States. The color ranges from yellow to brown, with dark brown bands running down its body. It has a long head and neck, which can be seen when it is swimming away from you. It has a white underbelly with black spots that are usually shaped like an hourglass.

The water snake is a menacing animal that can inflict a lot of damage. It has been known to attack animals and humans, so it’s best to steer clear of them if possible. You should also report any sightings in the area.

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