Not many are aware but snakes are not a species exclusively found on land. In this article, we will learn of the Brazos water snake (Nerodia harteri), which is a mostly aquatic species. This snake species is listed Near Threatened by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). This is because the range of this species is extremely limited. They are not under immediate threat of extinction but have a limited population. Their stream habitat has undergone negative changes being flooded by dams. This snake species, even though looks intimidating, is non-venomous. Named after the Brazos River system, this aquatic snake is found exclusively in central Texas in the United States along the Brazos River. The scientific name Nerodia harteri is inspired by and in honor of Philip Harter (American herpetologist). Philip Harter was the first one to collect the sample of this species in Palo Pinto County way back in 1936.
Read on to learn more Brazos water snakes facts that may serve as a field guide to reptiles. If you enjoy what you read, check out northern pine snake and cape file snake.
Brazos Water Snake
What do they prey on?
Small fish, crayfish, frogs, salamanders
What do they eat?
Average litter size?
23 live snakelets
How much do they weigh?
How long are they?
16-32 in (40.6- 81.2 cm)
How tall are they?
What do they look like?
Light brown, olive-brown spots
What are their main threats?
What is their conservation status?
Where you'll find them
Rocky, fast-flowing waters
Brazos river system, North-central Texas
Brazos Water Snake Interesting Facts
What type of animal is a Brazos water snake?
The Brazos water snake (Nerodia harteri), as the name suggests, is a type of snake. In fact, the entire genus Nerodia is a group of nonvenomous water snake species.
What class of animal does a Brazos water snake belong to?
The Harter's water snake (Nerodia harteri) belongs to class Reptilia. In addition to that, it belongs to the order Squamata, suborder Serpentes, family Colubridae, and genus Nerodia.
How many Brazos water snakes are there in the world?
There are no exact estimates of the total population of the Brazo water snake. Being listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) does serve as a reminder that their limited population needs to be protected. Flooding from dams is a major threat to the sanctity of their river ecosystem. To protect this species, such a human-created factor must be addressed.
Where does a Brazos water snake live?
The Harter's water snake is named after the Brazos River system and is found in north-central Texas along the Brazos River.
What is a Brazos water snake's habitat?
The Brazos water snakes' habitat consists of rocky and fast-flowing waters along the Brazos River. The Harter's water snake (Nerodia harteri) is also known to take cover under the various rocks near the shores. These rocks can also be used by these reptiles for feeding as well as habitat for hiding.
Who do Brazos water snakes live with?
Water snakes and most solitary reptiles hunt during the day and enjoy basking in the sun.
How long does a Brazos water snake live?
The Brazos water snake (Nerodia harteri) can live up to five years of age.
How do they reproduce?
The breeding season for the Brazos water snake lasts between September and October. They are viviparous - they give birth to young that have already been developed inside the mother's body. The Brazos water snake can give birth to about 23 young snakes during the breeding season.
What is their conservation status?
The Brazos water snake (Nerodia harteri) can only be found in the Brazos River system in Texas. This species has a very limited range. Due to its constricted range, its population has seen a decline. The Brazos water snake has been listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature or the IUCN in their Red List of Threatened Species. Conservation efforts are underway to preserve this Near Threatened species.
Brazos Water Snake Fun Facts
What do Brazos water snakes look like?
The Brazos water snake (Nerodia harteri) is brown in color. This snake species can easily be distinguished by its distinct dorsal spots. The four rows of brown spots are present throughout the length of its body. The Brazos water snake also has a yellowish-creamy tongue with an orange or pink underside. These snakes are slender than other snakes and have rounded heads and pupils.
How cute are they?
The Brazos water snake might seem intimidating and scary at first sight like most reptiles, like a plain-bellied water snake. However, they have a friendly nature and can appear cute if you are a fan of snakes. Despite this, it is not the brightest idea to get close to these snakes, they are non-venomous but they still bite as a defense mechanism.
How do they communicate?
Not enough research has been conducted to know about the communication patterns of the Brazos water snake (Nerodia harteri). However, water snakes like the northern water snakes communicate with each other by using their sense of touch and smell. They also have a well-developed sense of sight and can detect vibrations to locate their various prey. This communication pattern of the northern water snake can give us an idea about the Brazos water snake as well.
How big is a Brazos water snake?
The Brazos water snake (Nerodia harteri) has a length between 16-32 in (40.6- 81.2 cm). This water snake is about four times bigger than the world's smallest known snake - the Barbados thread snake, which has a length of about 4.1 in (10.4 cm).
How fast can a Brazos water snake move?
More research needs to be conducted to find out and calculate the speed of a Brazos water snake.
How much does a Brazos water snake weigh?
The exact weight of the Brazos water snake (Nerodia harteri) is not known.
What are the male and female names of the species?
There are no unique names that are used to refer to the male and female Brazos water snake (Nerodia harteri) species.
What would you call a baby Brazos water snake?
A newly born baby Brazos water snake can be referred to as a snakelet.
What do they eat?
The Brazos water snake species mostly consume small fish that are available in and around its habitat. These reptiles hunt during the day and can also be seen feeding on frogs, crayfish, and salamanders.
Are they poisonous?
Brazos water snakes species, like southern water snakes, are non-venomous in nature. They are very friendly in nature and do not cause any harm. When these reptiles feel threatened or scared, they will jump straight away into the water.
Would they make a good pet?
Water snakes in general make for great pets. They are non-venomous and are friendly in nature which makes these reptiles a great pet. These snakes can be held by children too without any worry. However, because the Brazos water snakes have been listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature or the IUCN in their Red List of Threatened Species, they should not be kept as pets. They are endangered and should be left in the wildlife.
Did you know...
Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, Fourth Edition, written by Joseph T. Collins and Conant R which is published by Houghton Mifflin in Boston and New York is an excellent resource that talks about the Brazos water snake in detail.
Why are Brazos water snakes endangered?
Brazos water snakes have been listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. This status implies that if their population numbers do not increase, their species might become Threatened or even Extinct in the near future. They are not considered to be endangered species yet but their population has been declining. The Brazos water snake (Nerodia harteri) can only be found in the Brazos River system in Texas. Since it is only found in one particular location, its population has been on a decline.
What is the biggest water snake?
The Northern water snake (Nerodia sipedon) gets the title of the largest water snake, with its females measuring over 60 in (152.4 cm) long. To get more information regarding water snakes, Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America is a great read.
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