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North American Animals - mamals, birds, reptiles, insects

 Diamondback Water Snake (Nerodia rhombifer)




Diamondback Water Snake | Nerodia rhombifer photo
Diamondback Water Snake

Photograph by LA Dawson. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

DIAMONDBACK WATER SNAKE FACTS

Description
The Diamondback Water Snake is mainly brown, dark brown, or dark olive green with a black net-like pattern along their back, forming a series of diamond shapes down the middle of the back. There are usually dark vertical bars and lighter coloring on the sides. The underside is usually yellow or lighter brown with dark spots or half-moon shaped blotches. The scales are keeled, giving the snake a rough texture. Juveniles are lighter with more prominent pattern. It is often seen hanging from branches overhanging the water. They dip their head underwater in search of fish or other prey. When approached, they often drop into the water and swim away. Many Diamondback Water Snakes are mistaken for Rattlesnakes and killed out of fear.

Size
length 1.2m - 1.5m

Environment
slow moving bodies of water, streams, rivers, ponds, or swamps.

Food
Diet is mainly fish. Also eats frogs, toads.

Breeding
Diamondback Water Snakes are ovoviviparous. They give birth to 20 or more live young in the late summer or early fall. Newborns are about 25cm at birth.

Range
The Diamondback Water Snake is found in the central United States, and is common along the Mississippi River valley. Range includes Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, and Alabama. It is also found in northern Mexico, in Coahuila, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz.

Notes
The Diamondback Water Snake is non-venomous snake, but can be aggressive and give a painful bite when handled. It is frequently kept in captivity, since it is a common snake, but there is little demand for it in the pet trade. Captive species may become fairly docile with regular handling, but they can excrete a foul smelling musk when handled.

Classification
Class:Reptilia
Order:Squamata (Serpentes)
Family:Colubridae
Genus:Nerodia
Species:rhombifer
Common Name:Diamondback Water Snake


Relatives in same Genus
  Mangrove Salt Marsh Snake (N. clarkii compressicauda)