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Nerodia sipedon

Common Name: Northern Water Snake
Nerodia sipedon
Nerodia sipedon

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Colubridae
Genus: Nerodia
Species: Nerodia sipedon

Conservation Status

Identifying Features

Northern water snakes contain a broad head, ridged scales, and can grow to be around 22-53 inches in length. They are brown-gray colored, with dark cross-bands on the neck, dark alternating patches covering the rest of its body, and a pale white-yellow body with spots.

Habitat & Range

Northern water snakes can be found in freshwater swamps, ponds, streams throughout eastern and central North America.


Northern water snakes are active during the day and night and can be found laying on top of rocks and stumps. During the day, they focus on hunting along the water edge for tadpoles, frogs, crayfish, and small mammals. At night, they will concentrate on small fish resting along the shallow waters.

Though non-venomous, water snakes are extremely aggressive and will not hesitate to defend themselves by repeatedly striking if bothered.

Life Cycle

Unlike other snakes, northern water snakes do not lay eggs. Females carry eggs inside their body and give birth to live young. The young snakes are born in late summer or early fall and are independent as soon as they are born.

Featured image by CFK.


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