Fun Water Snake Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Jan 12, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Smriti Chaudhary
Water snake facts are fascinating to read.

Water snakes are a group of non-venomous, semi-aquatic snakes, classified into 200 species from 38 genera. A few of the notable species are Northern water snakes, Florida banded water snakes, and more. Most species are native to North American ranges. They prefer aquatic habitats.

For example, lakes, ponds, streams, and more. Their primary diet includes fish, small reptiles, amphibians, and rodents. However, their personal favorite is small fish.

Southern and Northern Water Snakes are often mistaken as Water Moccasins. They have a flattened head, small black eyes with round pupils, and keeled dorsal scales. Northern water snakes have dark-colored scales and are identified by the dark crossbands on their neck. They also have dark blotches on their body. Females have a longer body than males.

They are ovoviviparous snakes. Their breeding season begins in mid-April. The females give birth in early autumn. The number of neonates depends on the species, for example, southern water snakes can give birth to up to 50 neonates.

To learn more, we have collected a set of interesting facts about this snake for you to read. You can also learn more about fascinating wild animals and snakes by reading up more articles on the hognose snake and the rattlesnake.

Water Snake Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Water Snake?

Water snakes are a vast group of semi-aquatic snakes. They are mostly harmless, and non-venomous. They have a vast family with nearly 200 species from 38 genera, including northern water snake or common water snake, Florida banded water snake, and more.

What class of animal does a Water Snake belong to?

They belong to the Reptilia class of the Animalia kingdom.

How many Water Snakes are there in the world?

According to the International Union For Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, there is a stable population of more than 10,00,000 northern water snakes on Earth. However, due to their vastly distributed population, the total number of their group is uncounted.

Where does a Water Snake live?

Water snakes are mostly found across Eastern, and Central North America. Most species of the Nerodia genus live in Southern Canada, Southern Ontario, Eastern United States, and Mexico.

Eurasian water snakes are found throughout Europe and Western Asia. Yellow-bellied water snakes are native to the Gulf Coast. A few species, including the Asiatic water snakes, live throughout Southern China, Indonesia, and parts of Southeast Asia.

What is a Water Snake's habitat?

They live in aquatic habitats like rivers, lakes, ponds, swamps, and marshes. They are semi-aquatic. They often come out to forests or grasslands near water bodies to bask under the sun. However, in any case, they don't stay outside of the water for too long.

Who do Water Snakes live with?

Water snakes are solitary reptiles. However, they prepare communal dens to live together during the winter. They gather in groups and reside in these dens during their hibernation period.

How long does a Water Snake live?

Their lifespan depends on their diet, environment, and species. Most of the species, including northern water snakes, and banded water snakes live up to nine years in captivity. However, their lifespan in the wild is still uncertain.

How do they reproduce?

Water Snakes are ovoviviparous. They produce offsprings every two or three years. Most species including northern water snakes indulge in a polygynous mating system, allowing the males to mate with two or more females in their lifetime.

The breeding season depends on their species. In most cases, it takes place in spring. The breeding season of northern water snakes starts from mid-April.

Their gestation period ranges between three and five months. The females give birth in early autumn. The number of snakelets produced varies from species to species.

The banded water snake can give birth to up to 50 snakelets and a northern water snake can give birth to up to 99 snakelets. The snakelets are around 8-10 in (20.3-25.4 cm) in length. Water snakes gain sexual maturity at the age of two or three.

What is their conservation status?

Most of their species, including common water snake or northern water snake and banded water snake, are listed as Least Concern species by the International Union For Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. However, the copperbelly water snake species is listed as a Vulnerable species, due to loss of habitat.

Some are also listed as Data Deficient such as Dunn's water snake and Hardwick's water snake.

Water Snake Fun Facts

What do Water Snakes look like?

When threatened, any water snake can defecate foul-smelling substances.

The aesthetics of water snakes depends upon their species. Water snakes have keeled dorsal scales, and a flat head with a pair of small, black eyes, with round pupils around it.

The patterns and coloration of scales vary from species to species. Northern water snakes come with dark shades such as dark brown, brown, dark grey, black or tan colored body, whitish or pale yellow underbody, with square blotches on their back and sides. Diamondback water snakes have diamond-shaped patterns on their brown or olive green-colored body and head.

How cute are they?

Snakes are one of the most feared species of our world. Due to the lack of knowledge, and aggressiveness of some species, most people don't like snakes. However, that doesn't change the fact that water snakes, especially banded water snakes, and diamondback water snakes are extremely appealing. Their unique patterns and colorations make them look gorgeous and cute!

How do they communicate?

Like many other snakes, they communicate by emitting chemical signals, through their glands. They use pheromones as a medium. By using the vomeronasal organs, they receive signals from others. They also use their eyesight and feel the vibration to locate their prey.

How big is a Water Snake?

The length of water snakes depends on their diet and species. In general, they are 2-3 ft (0.6-1 m) in length. Diamondback water snakes can grow up to 5.06 ft (1.7 m), and northern water snakes can grow up to 4.04 ft (1.3 m).

How fast can a Water Snake move?

Water snakes can move with ease while maintaining a speed of 6-7 mph (9.6-11.2 kph).

How much does a Water Snake weigh?

In general, they weigh around 5.2-14.3 oz (150-408 g). Depending on their diet, adult banded water snakes can weigh up to 16.38 oz (464.3 g).

What are their male and female names of the species?

Snakes don't have any particular names for males and females, respectively.

What would you call a baby Water Snake?

Baby water snakes are called neonates or snakelets. They are pale in color. They are 8-10 in (20.3-25.4 cm) in length. They are tiny in size and often have dark spots on their body.

What do they eat?

They are carnivores in nature and known for directly swallowing their prey alive. The primary diet of water snakes includes various small fish, crayfish, and occasionally small reptiles and amphibians, like southern leopard frogs, bullfrog tadpoles, and more.

When there is a scarcity of fish, they can feed on worms, leeches, rodents, and even small mammals, who live near the water.

Are they poisonous?

Unlike water moccasins or the venomous cottonmouth, water snakes are non-venomous. They are known as harmless snakes. They do not harm animals when these snakes are ingested either. Thus, they are not poisonous or venomous.

Would they make a good pet?

Water Snakes can be a great choice for your first reptile pet. They are non-venomous and harmless. Not just that, they are pretty easy to take care of. Therefore, many experts recommend them as a first choice.

Did you know...

Water snakes don't have fangs. Whenever they bite, they leave bite marks in a uniform pattern. They can bite if they ever threatened.

Water snakes have a close resemblance to water moccasins. Water moccasins are identified by their hourglass-like markings on their body and their blocky head.

Different types of Water Snake

Water snakes are classified into 200 species from 38 genera. Each of them has its own characteristics. A few of the most spotted water snakes are northern water snake (Nerodia sipedon), Florida banded water snake (Nerodia fasciata pictiventris), diamondback water snake (Nerodia rhombifer), southern water snake (Nerodia fasciata), and more.

How long can Water Snakes stay underwater?

They spend half of their life near the water. They can comfortably remain submerged underwater for up to 10 minutes. However, remaining underwater for more than an hour is not possible for them. Depending on the weather, they can live without being in the water for weeks.

They come out of the water when they need to bask in the sun. They even prey on rodents there. However, their primary habitat is the water.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other reptiles including chameleons, or corn snakes.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our Water Snake coloring pages.

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You


See All

Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

Read full bio >
Fact-checked by Smriti Chaudhary

Bachelor of Technology specializing in Information Technology

Smriti Chaudhary picture

Smriti ChaudharyBachelor of Technology specializing in Information Technology

Smriti, a student data scientist, and coder, is pursuing her Bachelor of Technology at K.J. Somaiya College of Engineering. She has achieved top rankings in the International English Olympiad, National Spelling Bee, and PSAT/SAT English Section. She is experienced in content creation and editing for various academic institutions.

Read full bio >