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December 03, 2016
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A sunning snake

Another view of the Northern water snake several days later.

July 19, 2012

Northern water snakes are our neighbors here in Narrowsburg, where we enjoy observing the heavy-bodied Nerodia sipedon living along the banks and in the waters of Little Lake Erie.

This aquatic snake can grow to more than 50 inches in length and swims easily across water, submerging itself to escape harm if threatened. Although it is not venomous, if provoked or cornered, it may defend itself by flattening its body and striking repeatedly. Not surprisingly, such bites can be extremely painful and can become infected.

Characterized by a large head, the Northern water snake sports bands of variable reddish-brown to dark grey interspersed with lighter caramel or beige tones. They can give birth to up to 30 live young.

In addition to basking on sun-warmed rocks, this snake can sometimes be spotted draped among branches of shrubbery along the vegetated shorelines of lakes, ponds, streams and rivers.