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The diamondback water snake (Nerodia rhombifer) or diamond-backed watersnake is a medium-sized species of large non-venomous snake in the central United States and northern Mexico. It is the most widely distributed species of snakes within its range, found on every continent except for Antarctica.
Diamondback water snakes can be found in aquatic habitats such as lakes, ponds, marshes, swamps, rivers, streams, creeks, and ditches. Unlike other water snake species that lay eggs on land or near the surface of the water where they live, diamondback water snakes typically lay eggs in shallow wetlands more than 35 ft (10.7 m) from the shoreline. They are very commonly seen along the banks of the Mississippi River. These water snakes are not considered dangerous as they are not poisonous.
Diamondback water snakes are not a common species, but they are found in many eastern states, including Florida, New York, and Texas. The diamondback water snake also lives in parts of the north and west coast of the United States. These snakes can grow 30-48 in (76-122 cm) long and have a yellowish-brown color, with dark diamonds and stripes running down their back. They have a dark diamond-shaped pattern down their back that can be distinguished by black lines or dark blotches on either side.
If you want to know more about diamondback water snake belly, diamondback water snake range, a gravid diamondback water snake, an eastern diamondback water snake, a northern diamondback water snake, western diamondback water snake, then do read this article a here's everything you need.
The diamondback water snake (Nerodia rhombifer) is the largest North American water snake species that belongs to the family of Colubridae.
The diamondback water snake (Nerodia rhombifer) belongs to the class of Reptilia in the Animalia kingdom.
They are often seen in their inhabited areas. However, no exact number is available as to how many of their species exist.
Diamond-backed watersnake is endemic to North America. They are predominantly found in the central United States and northern Mexico, alongside the Mississippi River valley, and the range is even extended beyond the valley. Some of their inhabitant states are Illinois, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Georgia, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Iowa, and Indiana. They are semi-aquatic species, so they are mostly found in slow-moving water bodies, namely, ponds, marshes, streams, canals, and swamps.
Diamondback water snakes are frequently seen in swampy areas. They are found in slow-moving bodies of water such as estuaries, tanks, canals, and ditches. Moreover, they are commonly spotted close to muskrat or a beaver's dens as the vegetation renders them some dark-covered sites, which is their absolute preference.
Diamond-backed watersnake likes to spend their time alone as they are solitary species. However, they tend to share their dens with other snakes only during hibernation.
This population of water snakes has decent longevity. In the wild, they can live for 10 years, which is slightly lower than the plane-bellied water snake.
Diamondback water snakes are ovoviviparous animals, meaning they produce eggs that hatch within their bodies. Females give birth to their young ones. They breed during the spring season; the gravid females (pregnant females) produce around 13-62 young ones during the late summer or early fall months. The young ones' length may range somewhere between 8-10 in (20-25 cm). The young ones are precocial, which means they do not need care as they are born strong enough to take care of themselves on their own. Moreover, these neonates attain sexual maturity at two years of age.
Diamondback watersnakes are listed as Least Concern in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.
One of the most striking things about the diamondback water snake (Nerodia rhombifer) is its somewhat diamond-shaped pattern on its back. However, their name is misleading as the pattern on their back is more like a chain than a diamond. These species are stoutly built with dark blotches on the ventral and dorsal areas.
These water snakes are usually dark brown in color, but their color may vary from vibrant yellow to dark olive green. The underside of these water snakes are mostly lighter in coloration; they may range from beige or light yellow to light brown.
They are lined with black blotches vertically throughout their length. Their papillae or tubercles, which are present on the backside of their chin, make them distinctive from other snakes of the United States. Young watersnakes have a lighter shade that may range from light brown to tan, and the shade darkens with age.
They are very attractive because of their diamond-shaped markings. However, some may find these species gross because of their colorations.
They mainly communicate through tactile, visual, chemical, and acoustic modes of communication. For example, they produce hissing sounds when startled.
Their length may range somewhere between 30-48 in (76-122 cm). The longest diamond-backed water snakes' species recorded until now was 69 in (175 cm) long. These species undergo sexual dimorphism as females grow faster, are stronger and larger than males. They are almost similar to a banded sea krait.
They are agile and have a decent locomotive tendency. However, not much data is available on their movement speed.
They are long and are stoutly built. They are usually within the range of 46-56 oz (1300-1580 g), with the highest ever recorded being around 62 oz (1750 g).
Like all other snakes, diamondback water snake (Nerodia rhombifer) does not have any sex differentiation, so both males and females are called snakes.
Baby or juvenile snakes are called neonates or snakelets. It can also be called a juvenile diamondback water snake.
Their diet consists of small fish, frogs, toads, and some more small reptiles and amphibians. These species are carnivores which means they feed on other animals.
No, they would not really make a good pet as they live in the wild and are habituated to the habitats.
The subspecies that are found in Iowa is the northern diamondback water snake (Nerodia rhombifer). These northern subspecies are distinct as they have large cross hoops running around their necks.
There are three subspecies of diamondback water snake (Nerodia rhombifer), namely, N. r. Blanchard, N. r. Rhombifera, N. r. Werleri consisting the nominotypical subspecies.
These species protect themselves from various adaptations they have. They do not usually bite, rather, they'll secrete some pungent chemicals, produce hissing sounds and straighten their head and body in order to appear bigger than they are. However, if they are harassed or disturbed, they may hurt with the very sharp diamondback water snake teeth, which are meant to catch slippery fish.
Only when agitated will these snakes bite. The diamondback water snake bite is obviously non-venomous, but this defensive behavior is often misunderstood. They are perceived as the venomous cottonmouth, which is another similar watersnake and shares similar habitat at times.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these black-necked spitting cobra facts and krait facts pages.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable snake coloring pages.
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