Did You Know? 15 Incredible Banded Water Snake Facts

You will love these banded water snakes facts.

The banded water snake (Nerodia fasciata) can commonly be spotted in many regions of the United States such as Florida, North Carolina, Texas, Alabama, and all along the Gulf of Mexico. In terms of their appearance, they have a dark color that generally ranges from dark brown, black, gray, to reddish-brown. Some also have splashes of yellow lining their bodies. They have bands that are present across their entire body. The banded water snake habitat is usually filled with other creatures such as frogs, fish, and birds, so these watersnakes have ample food sources. These watersnakes are not a type of species that eat other snakes.

The crossbands on the body of these snakes get more ambiguous as this species gets older and later on, they blend into the dark skin of these aquatic snakes. They are both diurnal and nocturnal creatures as during the summer when their habitat becomes really hot, they prefer to search for prey at night.  This species should not be confused with the cottonmouth snake which is poisonous. If you want to know more, keep reading!

If you liked reading about these aquatic watersnakes, you should check out common snapping turtle and mata mata turtle.

Banded Water Snake

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Fish, tadpoles, frogs, salamanders, and small birds

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

1 lb (464.3 g)

How long are they?

24-48 in (61-122 cm)

How tall are they?

What do they look like?

Brown, black, red, gray, greenish-gray, yellow, and tan

Skin Type


What are their main threats?


What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Freshwater rivers, ponds, ditches, marshes, swamps, wetlands, and streams


Southeastern United States





Scientific Name

Nerodia fasciata





Banded Water Snake Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a banded water snake?

The banded watersnake (Nerodia fasciata) is a type of snake commonly found in many Southeastern and Mid-west regions of the United States located near small and large bodies of water. This snake is often confused with the cottonmouth snake, a venomous species equipped with a fatal bite due to the fact that they can sometimes be hard to distinguish with the naked eye. Banded water snakes belong to the genus Nerodia and the Natricidae family.

What class of animal does a banded water snake belong to?

The banded watersnake is a reptile that belongs to the Reptilia class. The genus Nerodia includes a total  of around nine types of snakes that are non-venomous and can be found near bodies of water, deeming them to be water snakes. All of the species can be located in North America.

How many banded water snakes are there in the world?

The exact number of banded water snakes is currently not known due to the lack of verifiable data, but it is assumed to be more than 100,000.

Where does a banded water snake live?

The banded watersnake (Nerodia fasciata) is mainly found in specific regions in the United States. They can be commonly spotted in Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Alabama, and Arizona. These southern snakes are mainly visible near the coastal plain and freshwater habitats.

What is a banded water snake's habitat?

These snakes prefer to live near ponds and streams due to their preference for vegetated ponds and lakes. They are also present near bodies of water that are shallow such as swamps, ditches, lakes, and marshes. One of their most common habitats is across freshwater aquatic habitats present in the coastal plain in North Carolina.

Who do banded water snakes live with?

These snakes are primarily solitary creatures that like to prey on other creatures, mainly during the day. However, at times, they can also be active at night. They are mainly found to be social before and after the period of hibernation.

How long does a banded water snake live?

It is estimated that these watersnakes may live for nine years. As they get older, their bodies get darker, so it is harder to see the bands on their body.

How do they reproduce?

This southern water snakes species is viviparous and they mainly mate in the spring or summer months. They give birth in the fall or in the late stages of summer and the size of the litter is generally around 20 babies. The length of these babies is between 7.9-9.4 in (20-24 cm). They have a small head and as they age, their bodies become increasingly dark which conceals the black, brown, gray, or reddish crossbands and yellow splotches that range across the bodies of males and females.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the banded water snake according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List is listed as Least Concern.

Banded Water Snake Fun Facts

What do banded water snakes look like?

Banded water snakes (Nerodia fasciata) are slender snakes with broad red, black, and brown crossbands on their back and dorsal areas. The lighter crossbands that these snakes have come in a broad range of colors ranging from light brown to reddish, tan, and gray. They have a plain band, or dark stripe, that extends from their eye to the jaw and this helps in differentiating them from other species of water snakes. Their head is generally flat and even though they are heavy-bodied, they look flat and slender throughout when seen from afar. They do not possess distinct necks that can be visually separated from the head. Scales are present throughout the body of these southern watersnakes.

The species of banded water snake can be found in Florida.

How cute are they?

These snakes that are found along the Gulf of Mexico and the coastal plain located in North Carolina can seem pretty cute to some people as they are not dangerous.

How do they communicate?

These snakes mainly communicate through touch, smell, pheromones, vibrations, and body language. If they see a human nearby, their primary response is to flee from the scene.

How big is a banded water snake?

In terms of length, these snakes are thought to be in a range between 24-48 in (61-122 cm). They can be two times smaller than other sea snakes at times whose length measures between 47.2-118.1 in (120-300 cm). Females tend to be larger in size than males. This is even more pertinent when females are pregnant.

How fast can a banded water snake move?

The exact speed of these snakes is not known, but we do know that they are able to quickly flee from any predators or external threats. They can also swim pretty fast.

How much does a banded water snake weigh?

This watersnake tends to weigh around 1 lb (464.3 g). In comparison with the plain bellied water snake which weighs around 1.1 lb (516 g), these water snakes are slightly smaller.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific terms that are used to typically differentiate between male and female water snakes.

What would you call a baby banded water snake?

A baby banded watersnake is often called a snakelet, hatchling snake, a neonate, or most commonly, a young. This species is mainly born between the months of July and September.

What do they eat?

When it comes to their diet, these snakes are primarily carnivores. Their diet consists of small fish, tadpoles, salamanders, birds, frogs, and birds' eggs. They do not subdue or bite down on their prey, but rather these watersnakes just prefer to eat them whole. The broad banded water snake species also has a similar diet of frogs, tadpoles, fish, toads, and sometimes even some species of crayfish.  

Are they poisonous?

These snakes are not poisonous at all and they generally aren't aggressive either. In most circumstances, they take flight when they notice a predator or human near them. They also prefer to avoid making eye contact. Although, this water snake canbe defensive or aggressive if they feel like they are under attack or being threatened.

Would they make a good pet?

The banded water snake (Nerodia fasciata) is thought to be a good pet for a family. There are multiple reasons for this including the fact that these heavy-bodied water snakes are generally not aggressive around humans, are not poisonous, and are pretty low maintenance. They can easily be sustained on a diet of common rodents or fish.

Did you know...

Some places in the United States, such as the state of Georgia, have put protection guidelines around  banded water snakes.

Are banded water snakes dangerous?

Banded water snakes are not particularly dangerous since these snakes don't tend to be aggressive or poisonous. In certain circumstances when these heavy-bodied snakes feel threatened, they may bite or release a strong foul-smelling musk in order to defend themselves. The banded water snake bite may not be poisonous, but it still can hurt.

How long can a banded water snake stay underwater?

Here are some facts about the banded water snake underwater. The aquatic banded water snake (Nerodia fasciata) is able to stay underwater for a period of two hours or longer. They generally emerge sporadically above the water for about 45 seconds at a time in order to catch their breath, before going underwater again.

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 hawksbill sea turtle facts and Chinese softshell turtle facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable turtle coloring pages.



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