Banded Water Snake


Actual Size: 2 to 4 feet

Characteristics: Typically greenish-gray, gray, or brown, with dark crossbands.

Habitat: Can be found in freshwater habitats around marshes, ponds, streams, and lakes.

Habits: Can be found in freshwater habitats around marshes, ponds, streams, and lakes.

  • Also known as the southern water snake.
  • Of all snakes, banded water snakes are one of the strongest swimmers.
  • Nonvenomous snakes are frequently mistaken for cottonmouth snakes (venomous).

Banded Water Snakes in Louisiana

Banded water snakes are nonvenomous snakes that are commonly mistaken for cottonmouth snakes. Found across the Louisiana area, they have heavy bodies with dark markings and lighter-colored scales. Banded water snakes can grow up to four feet long. Their broad, flat heads are another characteristic that gets them confused with cottonmouth snakes. Banded water snakes’ diet consists mostly of fish, frogs, salamanders, crayfish, and tadpoles. They are viviparous, which means they give birth to live young.

Banded Water Snakes Habitat

These snakes usually live near fresh water sources like lakes and ponds. During summer, banded water snakes are mostly nocturnal to avoid the heat. However, sometimes they are found during the day sunning on banks or vegetation hanging over the water. In cold temperatures, the banded water snake will seek warmth in burrows or piles of vegetation. There they will hibernate, or more accurately, brumate. Brumation is similar to hibernation in that snakes will sleep for long periods of time.

Banded Water Snakes Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

As their name suggests, banded water snakes prefer to live in or near water—and are known for their strong swimming ability. While they aren’t aggressive, banded water snakes aren’t friendly either. They want to avoid contact with humans as much as possible. When threatened, they may release an unpleasant musky odor or bite defensively. Fortunately, their bite is not venomous, though still be quite painful. Banded water snake mating season is in the spring.

If you are having an issue with banded water snakes on your property, don’t try to deal with the problem yourself. Always call a professional wildlife control company for removal.