Yellow-bellied Water Snakes
Reptile: Nerodia erythrogaster (Forster) includes Yellow-bellied and Blotched Water Snakes
Non-venomous (Non-poisonous) Plain-bellied Water snakes are found in every southeastern state in the U.S. They are stout reptiles with dark brown, gray or greenish gray backs and bellies that range in color from yellow to red. In Louisiana, the Yellow-bellied and blotched water snakes occur. Even though these snakes are comfortable in water, they are often found on land, quite a distance away from a body of water. The Plain-bellied Water Snake is another of the many non-venomous, beneficial snakes that live in the south.
Yellow-bellied watersnake photo and all others on this page are the property of Y.L. Bordelon (All Rights Reserved), unless otherwise noted.
There are 2 types of Plain-bellied Water Snakes in Louisiana.
Yellow-bellied Water Snake is the Most Common Plain-bellied
A relatively heavy bodied, moderately long (up to 62 inches) with a pattern of alternating dorsal and lateral dark blotches readily visible, partially obscured or totally lacking on a gray or dark brown background (the pattern always visible in juveniles); belly some shade of yellow to red with relatively few dark markings. Baby Plain-bellied water snakes have banding patterns that resemble those of banded watersnakes, but have unmarked bellies and bands that are incomplete in the neck region. Plain-bellied water snakes are non-poisonous snakes.
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Louisiana Water Snakes
Two Plain-bellied sub-species are found in Louisiana.
Yellow-bellied Water Snake (N. e. erythrogaster) - Its adult dorsal pattern is visible only as narrow mid dorsal bars, if visible at all. The Yellow-bellied water snake occurs all over Louisiana.
Blotched Water Snake (N. e. transversa) - The adults retain the blotched pattern found in all juveniles. The blotched water snake occurs only in the Prairie.
a. Diamond-backed water snake, Nerodia rhombifers
b. Western green water snake, Nerodia cyclopion
c. Yellow-bellied water snake, Nerodia erythrogaster flavigaster
d. Blotched water snake, Nerodia erythrogaster transversa
e. Dark phase of the southern water snake, Nerodia fasciata
f. Light phase of the southern water snake, Nerodia fasciata
g. Northern water snake, Nerodia sipedon
h. Salt march snake, Nerodia clarkia
Photo Reference: Harold A. Dundee and Douglas A. Rossman, The Amphibians and Reptiles of Louisiana
Snakes of the Southeast
Snakes of the Southeast is a "must have" book for anyone who is interested in snakes. The information is up to date and very thorough and the many full color photographs just seem to jump off of the page. It is an excellent, all-round book.
Habits, Habitat and Reproduction
Nerodia erythrogaster (Yellow bellied water snake) is found in the ponds, sloughs, bayou, streams, rivers, lakes and swamps in the hill country of Louisiana and also in the drainage ditches and flooded rice fields of the lowlands. During the summer months, it is known to wander quite a distance from water than any other Nerodia species and they rarely bask. They are frequently one of the earliest water snakes to be seen in the spring and they spend more time on land that most other water snakes.
Yellow-bellied water snakes feed on small fish, crawfish and leopard frogs, which they capture and eat alive without constricting.
Plain-bellied water snakes mate from April until mid June. Females give birth to from 2-55 (18 is normal) live young during August or September.
Predators of Plain-bellied Water Snakes include largemouth bass, kingsnakes, cottonmouths, egrets, red-shouldered hawks and red-tailed hawks.
Reference: Whit Gibbons and Mike Dorcas: Snakes of the Southeast
Water Snakes of North America
Interactions with Yellow-bellied Water Snakes
We have had several encounters with large Yellow-bellied water snakes in our habitat in Southeastern Louisiana and most of them occurred on land, near our house. For two years in a row we found a pair of Yellow-bellied water snakes on our front porch and patio where we have a small water feature in an old iron wash kettle. It was quite a surprise to see the large snakes and at one point they decided that the patio drain pipe would make a nice den. My husband was able to catch them and release them down at the river so that they wouldn't eat the fish and frogs in the bass pond near the house.
Garter and Water Snakes
Snakes Are Hunters
Snakes Are Hunters
Did you know there are over 3,000 kinds of snakes in the world? There are garter snakes, water snakes, rattlesnakes, and boa constrictors. Some are very, very big and some are tiny. Some glide over the ground, some climb trees, some even swim. But there is one thing they all have in common: snakes are hunters. A Reading Rainbow selection.
Water Snakes on Zazzle
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Yellow-bellied Watersnake in its Natural Habitat.
Dover Snakes of the World Coloring Book
Dover coloring books are like no others. They are quality productions using heavy white opaque paper, with first-rate artwork and informative text and captions. Many appeal to adults as well as children. Teachers love them and appreciate being able to copy illustrations on office copiers for classroom use. Designers and craftspeople also use them because the illustrations in most Dover coloring books can be reproduced in design or craft projects without permission or fee.
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Yellow-bellied Water Snake photo Creative Commons
© 2009 Yvonne L B