Banded Water Snake
Nerodia fasciata
 

Banded Water Snakes are easy to mistake for the venomous cottonmouth. Both snakes have thick bodies and grow to about 5 feet long. When young, they have brown bodies with black and rusty orange patterns. As it ages, the skin gets darker. Unless you’re really close, it’s hard to tell these two snakes apart; however, getting close is a bad idea. Both snakes are aggressive and will strike numerous times before you can move away. The main difference is that the banded water snake has no venom (poison) and the cottonmouth does. Banded water snakes live in fresh or salt water marshes. They are good swimmers that come out at night. They eat frogs, tadpoles, and fish.

Banded Water Snakes are common in most permanent and semipermanent fresh water environments in the coastal plain. The preferred habitat is similar to those of many other water snakes. Individuals flee at the slightest disturbance, but if restrained or cornered, they bite vigorously and void musk from their cloacal glands. However, their bites, like those of other local nonvenomous snakes, produce only superficial scratches. Banded water snakes feed chiefly on fish and amphibians.

 


Photo courtesy Donna Bell, Flomaton, Alabama
 


Photo courtesy Donna Bell, Flomaton, Alabama

 


 

 

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