Project Noah

Project Noah is a tool to explore and document wildlife and a platform to harness the power of citizen scientists everywhere.

Join Project Noah Today

Northern Water Snake

Nerodia sipedon sipedon

Description:

Adult coiled up in branches a couple of feet of the ground near flat branch creek. Coloring is variable - tan, brown, rust, gray. Notice the heavily keeled scales (each scale has a line / ridge in middle). Herpetologists often use this trait when differentiating snakes.

Habitat:

A rocky beach area of a small to medium sized freshwater creek.

Notes:

This snake is frequently misidentified as a cottonmouth or 'water mocassin' and needlessly killed. Tennessee Herpetology Society produced this brochure on telling the difference between common water snakes and the venomous cottonmouth: http://www.tnherpsociety.org/Cottonmouth...

No species ID suggestions

9 Comments

Elsa
Elsa 6 years ago

I like this story and picture. I have a photo of a couple in a tree, plus a closeup of a head, which took me a while to ID - similar but with a more copper coloured skin. After you wrote about the scales I had to go back to my pics and double check!

Hema Shah
Hema Shah 6 years ago

Thanks, knowing this , i will leave a few bowls near spots where i see those snakes.
i always stay away from them. i am very scared of snakes.

NeilDazet
NeilDazet 6 years ago

Yes, snakes can get dehydrated. It is common for pet snakes to drink water from small ceramic bowls placed in their enclosure.

Hema Shah
Hema Shah 6 years ago

Indian Mythology makes a Snake a very fascinating creature!
We have flying snakes in Baroda which live in almond tree.
In California, when it gets really hot, sometimes tiny snakes slither up the drive way. i feel that they are seeking a cooler place or possibly looking for water.
Do you think that a snake would drink water out of a container? Snakes can get dehydrated ?

NeilDazet
NeilDazet 6 years ago

You're welcome. I love teaching opportunities like this because there are so many false myths out there about certain animals, especially snakes.

Hema Shah
Hema Shah 6 years ago

Thanks for enriching Project Noah !!

NeilDazet
NeilDazet 6 years ago

Yes, water mocassins (the common name is actually cottonmouths) are definitely fierce. I worked with them some at grad school. They don't "jump into boats" though. A lot of different water snakes like to bask in the sun in the branches that hover over the water. When disturbed, they often just drop down into the water. Occasionally they land in a canoe. Its accidental, as they are trying to get into the water.

Hema Shah
Hema Shah 6 years ago

Water Moccasins are fierce! i heard that they jump into the boat!
This snake has beautiful markings! is the process of shedding skin painful?

NeilDazet
NeilDazet 6 years ago

Added a few more photos of this spotting, so now there are 5 photos.

Missouri, USA

Lat: 38.94, Long: -92.34

Spotted on Jun 1, 2011
Submitted on Jun 1, 2011

Related spottings

Banded Water Snake Plain-bellied water snake Diamondback Water Snake (Juvenile) Plain-bellied Watersnake

Nearby spottings

Five-Lined Skink (male) Five-lined Skink Black Rat Snakes (mating) Hybrid Red-eared Slider, YellowBelly Slider