NORTHERN WATER SNAKE
Photo © by Suzanne L. Collins
Used by permission
Length in Kansas up to 47 1/2 inches.
Found throughout most of Kansas; least abundant on western High Plains where it is
restricted to larger river valleys.
Harmless. Strongly keeled scales; belly with dark brown, orange, yellow, red and
gray halfmoons and speckles, widely spaced and scattered on the front part of a gray or
whitish belly; dark brown complete bands on the front part of the body and alternating
rows of brown or gray blotches on the back and sides of the rear portion of the body; old
adults are uniform brown or gray. Young have a more contrasting pattern than adults.
Found in almost any aquatic situation, from rocky streams and rivers to
swamps, lakes and marshes. Active from March to November; becomes nocturnal in the summer.
Spends much of its time basking in the sun on branches and logs which overhang water;
discovered easily by looking under rocks along streams. Six to 66 young per litter, born
in August or September. Eats small fishes, plus some frogs and toads.
Click here for
information on precautions against being bitten by snakes
and what to do if you have been bitten by one.
Other Kansas water
Text: Joseph T. Collins & Suzanne L. Collins
Photos: Suzanne L. Collins & Bob Gress
Range Maps & Web Design: Jim Mason