|Florida Snakes: Non-Venomous Water Snakes|
Salt Marsh Snake- The Atlantic salt marsh snake is a slender,
heavily keeled water snake about 2 feet in total length, with a pattern
of stripes that are variously broken into blotches. The dorsal ground
color is pale olive, patterned with a pair of dark brown stripes running
down the back and enclosing a pale mid-dorsal stripe. These dark stripes
usually become fragmented posteriorly into a series of elongate
blotches. There is also a row of dark blotches along the lower sides of
the body, which merge to form stripes in the neck region. The ventral
surface is black with a median series of yellowish spots. This snake
feeds on small fish in shallow water. It is most active at night, during
periods of low tide.
Black Swamp Snake- Black swamp snakes are found in the Coastal Plain of the southeastern United States from eastern North Carolina to southern Alabama and throughout Florida. Black swamp snakes are fairly small, reaching a maximum length of around 22 inches. These highly aquatic snakes are glossy black with bright red bellies. Within the water, black swamp snakes are active both during the day and at night and actively forage amidst submerged vegetation. Because black swamp snakes are highly aquatic and extremely secretive they are seldom seen, even by experienced herpetologists. A variety of aquatic prey have been recorded in the diet of swamp snakes, including small fish, tadpoles, and small frogs.
Glossy Crayfish Snake- Glossy crayfish snakes are mid-sized, highly aquatic snakes, ranging in length from 14 to 24 inches. The glossy crayfish snake is found in the Coastal Plain of the southeastern United States from eastern North Carolina to eastern Texas but is absent from the southern portion of peninsular Florida. The crayfish snakes are highly aquatic and inhabit a variety of wetland habitats including cypress swamps. Because glossy crayfish snakes are highly aquatic and extremely secretive they are seldom seen. The glossy crayfish snake is of conservation concern throughout its range because its reliance on aquatic habits makes it vulnerable to habitat destruction.
Florida Green Water Snake- The Florida Green prefers weed-choked marshes, is less inclined to bask, and is somewhat more nocturnal than the Mississippi Green Water Snake. Despite its name, the green water snake is not always conspicuous green. The Florida green water snake is a heavy-bodied, olive-green, brownish, or reddish (in south Florida) water snake, with indistinct dark bars on its sides and back. The Florida Green Water Snake's head looks short and has a series of small scales that separate the eyes from the upper lip scales. This snake's belly is cream and unmarked. Feeding mainly on minnows and small fish, the green water snake often bites aggressively when first handled, and it also emits a nasty smelling musk
Brown Water Snake- Brown Watersnakes are large, between 30 and 60 inches long. The brown watersnake is a somewhat heavy bodied aquatic snake with light to dark brown coloring. This snake has large darker brown square blotches throughout it body, with one line of square blotches running down the center of the dorsum and two other lines running in alternating rows along the sides of the snake. The belly is usually light with brown splotches and black crescents. Brown watersnakes have strongly keeled scales and its head is visibly wider than its neck, giving this snake a slightly triangular appearance. Female brown watersnakes are much larger than males. Brown watersnakes are excellent swimmers and feed primarily on fish, particularly small catfish, which they capture either by ambush or by actively foraging along the edges or bottom of rivers and lakes. Brown watersnakes are also proficient climbers and often bask on vegetation or emergent snags up to 20 ft above the water. If startled, they will drop from their perch into the water and may accidentally end up in a passing boat.
Florida Water Snake- This common and often beautiful aquatic snake is sometimes seen on roadways during rainy weather. Adult Florida Water Snakes average from 24-42 inches in length and are stout bodied snakes with black, brown, or red crossbands (often bordered with black) across back, which may be obscured as the snake darkens with age. Background color on the Florida water snake may be gray, yellow, tan, or reddish. Also called the Florida Banded Water Snake, it feeds on mainly fish and frogs. The Florida Water Snake lives in rivers, lakes, ponds and ditches, and is often seen sunning itself on river and lake edges, or in overhanging bushes. Banded water snakes are often mistaken for the venomous cottonmouth or water moccasin, as these two species look very similar, but you can usually tell them apart by their behavior.
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