Northern Water Snake

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The Northern Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon sipedon) is abundant in Ohio and can be found throughout the state around potentially any permanent body of water, including lakes, ponds, swamps, marshes, streams, and rivers. </p>

The species breeds between April and June, producing four to 99 live young, averaging 15 to 30 offspring after a gestation period of three to five months.

This stocky snake comes in a variety of colors and patterns ranging from reddish brown to brown-black with dark blotches on its back and sides. Its body length ranges from 24 to 42 inches. The northern water snake is often mistaken, due to its appearance, for the venomous water moccasin or cottonmouth snakes, neither of which lives in Ohio. The Northern Water Snake is not venomous and does not pose a significant threat to humans.

The Northern Water Snake can frequently be seen sunning itself on logs and rocks, but will disappear quickly into the water when disturbed. The water snake will generally attempt to avoid humans, but if grabbed they can be extremely aggressive. A water snake bite can be painful and deep, and will generally bleed more than an average wound because of a substance in the snake's saliva that slows the clotting of blood. As an added defensive measure, the water snake will secrete a foul-smelling odor from their musk glands if picked up.

Northern Water Snakes typically eat frogs, small fish, salamanders, small turtles, crustaceans, and small mammals.

See Also