Appearance and biology
The Northern water snakes tend to vary in appearance. Others are grey in color while others brown or even tan. Young ones are normally brightly colored as compared to adults normally with dark colored bands. Their appearance when in water and when on land tends to be different. The bands are better seen when the snake is in water. The average size of an adult just about 3.5 feet long…The Northern water snake can live upto 9 years while in captivity although the lifespan has not been established when out in the wild. They are non-venomous and ovoviviparous in nature.
They hit maturity when about 3 to 4 years. After mating (normally in the spring season), the eggs are internally fertilized but instead of laying eggs like most snakes, the females give birth to their young ones. The average size of a young one is about 21 centimeters. The average number of young ones at a single birth is 8 although can go as many as 30. The mortality rates among the juveniles are high because they are left to take care of themselves as from birth. The young ones grow to maturity, mate, have their own young ones and the cycle repeats.
As their name suggests, they would likely be found in areas near water. This means that aquatic animals like the fish comprise their diet. They feed on fish species such as the sunfish, minnows, trout, catfish among others. They also feed on amphibians like the likes of toads, frogs, salamanders and sometimes tadpoles. Small birds, leeches and worms are also part of their diet.Northern water snakes are known to feed swallow their prey whole while still alive.
They are commonly found in the Midwest and Northeast part of the United States. Any area that has water or is generally wet will serve as its habitat. Northern water snakes will therefore be found in swamps, marches, ponds, rivers, ditches and other wet areas. They especially prefer stagnant or slow moving waters with areas to bask.
• Have the ability to swim which enables them to hunt for their aquatic preys.
• When startled, they flatten so as to appear larger although the will not spare biting when attacked. Fortunately, their bites are harmless as there is no venom involved. Fleeing is also an option that they may take when encountered with danger. Producing a bad smell to chase its attacker away is also another of its defense mechanism.
• These snakes are active at all hours, meaning that they hunt at day and at night hours. They use their sense of smell and sight to hunt.
• During the winter season, there is no mating among them but go into hibernation. They commonly share dense with black rat snakes and copper heads during this time. The Northern Water Snake