Northern Watersnake Conservation - Least Concern
Scientific Name
Nerodia sipedon sipedon
All of Virginia
Also Known As
Banded Watersnake, Dryland Moccasin
Distinct Brown Blotches
Fish and Amphibians
Litter Size
~18 Eggs per Birth
Life Span
9 Years Captivity. Unknown in Wild
24 - 42 Inches

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Northern Watersnake

Northern Watersnake Description

Northern Watersnake Appearance

This snake has a series of dark crossbands which ends at mid-body or at the sides. Their main body color can be brown to gray, with varying amounts of red, yellow, or white. Their chin is always white.

Their blotches on their back, will have dark borders, but the shape and variation can vary based on geography. These blotches are harder to spot when the snake is dry.

Their belly will usually have dark half-moon markings on them


This snake is usually between 24 to 42 inches long, however, the record length for this snake is about 55 inches. The record found in Virginia is 54 inches.

Juveniles tend to be 8 inches long.

Northern Watersnake

Their crossbands can be reddish like this one here

Northern Watersnake Behavior

These snakes are an aggressive species. While they will not chase your, they will bite if handled. If you are bitten, make sure to wash the wound with soap and water to prevent infection. If they sense danger they will often retreat into the water.

These snakes are active during the day and can be seen basking on rocks, or stumps, or is out hunting. At the evening this snake retreats back into the water and it concentrates on eating small fish resting in the shallow water.


It is illegal in Virginia to keep Wild Snakes as pets

Range and Habitat of The Northern Watersnake


They can be found all over Virginia. These snakes can be found as far north as Canada and as far west as Colorado. There has been some reports that some are found in California as an invasive species.


Anywhere there is natural water this snake will be there. They inhabits streams, lakes, ponds, and wetlands. Juveniles tend to be found in smaller streams to avoid predators.

Northern Watersnake Map Range

They can be found near the water anywhere in Virginia.

Diet of Northern Watersnake

Their diet consists of small fish, frogs, worms, leeches, crayfish, birds, and mammals

Reproduction and Young


Mating season for these snakes is between April and June, However, these times may be later due to Virginia being their northern border.

Eggs and Young

These snakes do not lay eggs but rather birth them live, they give birth from July to September.
Juveniles will have the same coloration and patterns as the adults. At birth the snake are measured at 7 to 9 inches long.
Northern Watersnake

Juvenile’s patterns are much more apparent as shown here

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