Plain-bellied Watersnake Conservation - Least Concern
Scientific Name
Nerodia erythrogaster
Southeast Virginia
Also Known As
Blotched Watersnake, Copperbelly
Plain Unmarked Belly
Amphibians, Fish, Crayfish, Salamanders
Litter Size
~18 Eggs per Birth
Life Span
8 - 15 Years
30 - 48 Inches

Quick Links for Plain-bellied Watersnake

Plain-bellied Watersnake

Plain-bellied Watersnake Description

Plain-bellied Watersnake Appearance

This snake is solid colored, and can be brown, gray, olive, greenish-gray or black in color. These snakes can be identified from other watersnakes by their plain, no-pattern colors. This means that their bellies are a single color, and contains no patterns or markings.

Some subspecies of this snake can have dark blotches on it’s back.


This snake is usually between 30 to 48 inches long, however, the record length for this snake is about 62 inches. The record found in Virginia is 58 inches.

Juveniles tend to be 11 inches long.

Plain-bellied Watersnake

These snakes can be Tan, Brown, or even a Chestnut color like this one.

Plain-bellied Watersnake Behavior

They are non-venomous, however if threatened they will not hesitate to strike repeatedly and flatted their head.

These snakes are semi-aquatic, and are excellent swimmers. They hunt mainly in the water and will travel long distances to reach their prey. But they do come out on dry land during warm summer days to bask in the sun.


It is illegal in Virginia to keep Wild Snakes as pets

Range and Habitat of The Plain-bellied Watersnake


They can be found in South East Virginia, although there are some reports that they might be found in the Stafford and DC Area. Their range extends all across the south near the waterways.


Anywhere there is a permanent water source, the Plain-bellied Watersnake can be there. But they are most frequently seen near rivers floodplains, lakes, ponds, and any natural wetlands. Due to Virginia’s winters, they do not venture past Richmond because of the cold. However, this Watersnake spends more time on land than other Watersnakes.

Plain-bellied Watersnake Map Range

They can be found near the water of southeast Virginia

Diet of Plain-bellied Watersnake

Their diet consists of fish, crayfish, salamanders, and frogs. Due to it spending a lot of time on land, this snake includes a large quantity of amphibians. They capture and swallow their prey alive without using constriction.

Reproduction and Young


Mating season for these snakes is between April and June, and broods between 5 to 27 have been documented. They are polyandrists which means the females will mate with multiple males.

Eggs and Young

These snakes do not lay eggs but rather birth them live.
Juveniles have strong patterns with a series of 4-6 crossbands. The main body tends to be a cream color. As the snake gets older, the patterns become more and more obscured.
At birth the snake are measured at 10 to 12 inches long.
Plain-bellied Watersnake

Juvenile’s patterns are much more apparent as shown here

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