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Northern Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon sipedon)

Water snake

NH Conservation Status: Not listed

 

State Rank Status: Widespread and secure

 

Distribution: Throughout NH except far north

 

Description: A dark, heavily blotched snake measuring 24-42 inches. Has a brown or grayish base color with numerous brown or black blotches or bands. The belly has black or red half-moon shapes that vary in pattern and arrangement.

 

northern water snake

 

Commonly Confused Species: Timber rattlesnake, milk snake; water moccasin or cottonmouth (not a NH species)

 

Habitat: Found in aquatic and semi-aquatic habitats such as streams, ponds, swamps, and marshes. Often uses logs or branches overhanging the water for basking. Rarely found far from water.

Life History: From August to October gives birth to 20-40 live young. During winter hibernates underwater or in holes near water.

 

Conservation Threats: Loss and degradation of wetland habitats; anything that results in reduced amphibian populations.

 

Distribution map: View a map showing the towns where this species is reported to occur in NH PDF Document

 

 

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Water snake

Northern water snake resting on edge of dirt trail. Notice banded patterns and round pupils (rattlesnakes have vertical pupils). Photo by Mike Marchand.

Water snake

Young dark northern water snake.

Photo by Alan Briere.

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Water snake

Colorful belly pattern of a northern water snake.

Photo by Mike Marchand.

Water snake

A dark northern water snake basking on dock. Sometimes the banding pattern is difficult to see in dark snakes. Photo by Mike Marchand.

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Water snake

Newborn northern water snake.

Photo by Mike Marchand.

Water snake

Rust colored adult northern watersnake observed in April 2016 in Henniker, NH. Photo by Joshua Megysey. Select image for larger view.

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northern water snake

A dark Northern water snake with stub tail.  Photo by Brian Faber. section