Harmless Banded Water Snake


Have you ever heard of a Banded Water Snake? They are also known as a Southern Water Snake.  This is a species that lives mostly in the water (aquatic), it is non-venomous, and occurs in the central and southeastern US.

Adult Banded Water Snake — bands are muted — hard to distinguish.

You can find them from as far north as Indiana south to Louisiana and East over to Florida. The size is from 24-42 in total length, the largest one being found at 62.5 total inches in length. The coloring you will find on them is typically gray, greenish-gray or brown– but always with a dark crossbanding. Many of the animals are so dark, that you can barely distinguish a pattern. [see above image]
If irritated, they release a foul-smelling musk to deter predators. Further, although they are not venomous any snake can still bite, so it is always best to leave them alone and let them go on their way.


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Diet — although the snake preys mainly on fish and frogs, they also consume rodents, salamanders, tadpoles and crayfish.

Banded water snake consuming an armored (hoplo) catfish. West Melbourne, FL USA IC: sdbeazley @flckr
Baby Banded Water Snake notice how bright the colors are now. They are known to make acceptable pets and breed fairly easily in captivity


When it gets close to the end of summer time, you can expect these snakes to have about 25 or more babies. In fact, it was even reported about 10 years ago that one snake had 44 babies. The young are born with fully formed musk glands and like their mom and dad can strike if they feel threatened.



Note the head-neck ratio , body and tail shape as it reflects that of the banded water snake.


The snakes body is toward the slim side for its total overall length. The tail becomes very slender and almost pointed. The head and the neck are the same size and head is almost indistinguishable from the neck. When the snake feels threatened it will seem to “flatten out” making it appear wider, even thicker– including the head portion. At that time the head will appear slightly larger than the neck however not dramatically.

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