Friday, September 29, 2023
Friday, September 29, 2023
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Discover 11 Water Snakes Found in Louisiana Waters


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There are 47 various types of snakes in Louisiana, consisting of 7 that are poisonous. Louisiana is well-known for its abundant and varied environments, much of which are wetlands. Therefore, it’s not unexpected that you can discover a great deal of water snakes in Louisiana. Six of these hold true water snakes from the Nerodia genus, however there are likewise 5 others which spend a great deal of time in and around the water. Let’s discover them!

1. Midland Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon pleuralis)

The Midland water snake is a subspecies of the northern water snake.
In Louisiana the Midland water snake can primarily be discovered in the Florida Parishes.

©Tucker Heptinstall/

We’ll begin the list with a northern water snake subspecies — the Midland water snake. These snakes are 24 to 30 inches long and are brown with darker crossbands which end up being spots towards their tail. Their tummy is yellow and includes reddish-colored semi-circle markings. Midland water snakes primarily live in the Florida Parishes, although there is a record of them in the Ouachita Parish too. They reside in lakes, rivers, ditches, and swamps where they victimize fish and amphibians.

2. Diamond-Backed Water Snake (Nerodia rhombifer)

Diamond-backed water snakes have distinctive diamond-shaped markings.
Diamond-backed water snakes can in some cases be seen hanging from branches near the water.

©Tucker Heptinstall/

The diamond-backed water snake happens statewide in Louisiana and occupies most freshwater environments. However, they tend to choose locations where there is lots of plant life overhanging the water as they often hang from the branches while indulging in the sun. Diamond-backed water snakes are 30 to 48 inches long and have brown bodies with dark brown to black blotched markings on their sides. These have black diagonal lines in between them which form the distinct diamond pattern that they are called for. These snakes will bite if they are threatened, although they are not poisonous.

3. Plain-Bellied Water Snake (Nerodia erythrogaster)

Plain-bellied water snake (Nerodia erythrogaster)
Plain-bellied water snakes choose slow-moving bodies of water.

©Danny Ye/

The next water snake in Louisiana is the plain-bellied water snake. Plain-bellied water snakes are 30 to 48 inches long and have olive green to gray bodies. They likewise have a plain tummy which is usually yellow-colored colored and leads to them likewise being called yellow-bellied water snakes. These snakes take place almost statewide and frequently live in big, slow-moving locations of water, such as swamps and lakes. Plain-bellied water snakes mainly consume fish and amphibians which they get and swallow alive.

4. Mississippi Green Water Snake (Nerodia cyclopion)

Mississippi Green Water Snake
The Mississippi green water snake is discovered just in the southeastern United States.

©Ryan M. Bolton/

The Mississippi green water snake is a dark, greenish brown snake which is usually in between 30 and 45 inches long. These snakes are discovered throughout the majority of Louisiana, although they are not as typical in the upper Florida Parishes, the western, and the northern areas. Mississippi green water snakes choose slow-moving bodies of water, such as lakes, pond, swamps, and bayous. They primarily victimize fish and amphibians. Mississippi green water snakes are not poisonous and choose to leave back into the water if they are interrupted. However, they will bite as a last option and launch a strong musk odor.

5. Gulf Salt Marsh Snake (Nerodia clarkii clarkii)

Gulf Salt Marsh Snake
The Gulf salt marsh water snake can be discovered along the coast in environments with brackish water.

©Jay Ondreicka/

The Gulf salt marsh snake is among 3 subspecies of the saltmarsh snake. These are usually 15 to 30 inches long and are grayish brown with 2 yellowish-colored stripes along each side. They likewise have 21 to 23 keeled dorsal scales. Gulf salt marsh snakes are just discovered in the seaside area of Louisiana where they live in brackish water and salt marshes. They victimize shrimp, crabs, and fish which they discover caught in water swimming pools brought on by the declining tide. They are primarily nighttime and conceal in the plant life throughout the day.

6. Banded Water Snake (Nerodia fasciata)

Banded water snakes are often mistaken for cottonmouths.
Banded water snakes are not poisonous however will bite if they are threatened.

©Patrick K. Campbell/

The next snake is the banded water snake which is likewise in some cases called the southern water snake. These are among the most typical water snakes in Louisiana and take place statewide. Banded water snakes choose shallow, slow-moving water — consisting of swamps, bayous, lakes, and ponds. They are not poisonous however will easily bite to safeguard themselves versus any possible hazard. Banded water snakes usually vary in between 22 and 42 inches long. They are dark brown and have big crossbands in a lighter brown or red.

7. Northern Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus)

Cottonmouths are easily recognised by the white lining inside their mouth.
Cottonmouths have cytotoxic venom which can trigger substantial tissue damage.


The just poisonous snake on the list, and the only semi-aquatic pit viper in the United States, is the northern cottonmouth. Cottonmouths are usually determine 30 to 42 inches long and have heavy, dark brown bodies with black crossbands, although in some cases they can be so dark that they seem almost black. However, the function that identifies them the most is their mouth. This is due to the fact that the lining of it is intense white. These snakes frequently expose it when they open their mouth broad in a protective posture. Cottonmouths take place statewide in Louisiana and reside in a lot of freshwater environments. They consist of cytotoxic venom which breaks down tissue and can result in substantial damage and scarring.

8. Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis)

The eastern garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis)
The eastern garter snake lives near water and victims primarily on fish and frogs.

©Ryan Hodnett, CC BY-SA 4.0, through Wikimedia Commons – License

Although not a real water snake, the eastern garter snake almost constantly lives near water and relies greatly on the water for food. Eastern garter snakes are a subspecies of the typical garter snake and are prevalent throughout the majority of Louisiana, with the exception of the west and southwestern areas. They usually live in wetland locations around swamps, lakes, and rivers where they prey greatly on little fish and amphibians. Eastern garter snakes are not genuinely poisonous and present no hazard to people. However, they produce a compound in the Durvenoy gland which resembles venom and can cripple their victim when they chew it into them. They are roughly 26 inches long and are normally brown with yellow stripes.

9. Glossy Crayfish Snake (Liodytes rigida)

Glossy crayfish snakes are sometimes call swamp snakes.
Glossy crayfish snakes reside in slow-moving water where there is lots of plant life.

©Nathan A Shepard/

The next water snake in Louisiana is the shiny crayfish snake which is in some cases called the overload snake. Glossy crayfish snakes variety in between one to 2 feet long and have glossy brown or olive green bodies with smooth scales. They likewise have normally have thin, yellowish-colored stripes, yellow lips, and yellow stomaches. Glossy crayfish snakes are prevalent throughout most of the state, although they are less typical in the Florida Parishes. They reside in a lot of slow-moving water sources, however choose locations with lots of thick marine plant life.

10. Graham’s Crayfish Snake (Regina grahamii)

Graham’s Crayfish Snake
Graham’s crayfish snake is typically seen around ponds and other sluggish moving bodies of water.

©Rusty Dodson/

Another crayfish snake is Graham’s crayfish snake which prevails throughout the majority of Louisiana, with the exception of the Florida Parishes, the northern area, and parts of the western-central location. Graham’s crayfish snakes usually reside in swamps, oxbow lakes, ditches, and muddy-bottomed rivers and streams. The bulk of their diet plan includes crayfish, although they do in some cases victimize fish and amphibians also. These snakes are roughly 18 to 26 inches long and are grayish-brown with a yellow tummy.

11. Western Ribbon Snake (Thamnophis proximus)

Thamnophis proximus proximus
There are 2 types of western ribbon snakes in Louisiana.


There are 2 subspecies of the western ribbon snake in Louisiana — the Gulf Coast ribbon snake and the orange-striped ribbon snake. Both reside in and around water sources such as swamps, rivers, and streams. However, the orange-striped ribbon snake resides in the northern half of the state, while the Gulf Coast ribbon snake happens in the southern half. They are 16 to 42 inches long and can be either black or brown with orange, yellow, or white stripes.

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