The Brown water snake is endemic to the southeastern part of the United States. They can be found in a wide range that encompasses the Coastal Plain and Piedmont regions of Alabama including southern Virginia, further south all through Florida. This water snake can be found in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia.
They can be found in permanent aquatic locations like swamps, streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, canals etc. They are excellent swimmers and feed primarily on fish, especially catfish which they hunt by ambushing them or foraging around the bottom of ponds or lakes. Brown water snakes bask on vegetation and if startled or scared will not hesitate to give a painful bite. They mate in spring and the females bear 20 – 60 live younglings around the end of summer.
The brown watersnake is a large nonvenomous water snake averaging 30 – 60 inches with a heavy body and a distinguishably narrow neck in comparison to the head. The colors are typically light to dark brown with up to 30 large black or brown blotches square blotches. One line of the blotches run down the dorsum center while the other two appearing in an alternating line sequence along each side of the body. They have very wide, triangular heads with eyes (with round pupils) and nostrils located at high points on the head to aid aquatic movement or activities. The scales on this snake are keeled and it possesses 27 – 33 dorsal scale rows. Juveniles are lighter colored but have similar coloration.
Learn more with Schechter Natural History's Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians