Plainbelly Water Snake
Photo by Suzanne L. Collins
Used by permission

Plainbelly Water Snake
Nerodia erythrogaster
  • Size:   Length in Kansas up to 55 1/2 inches.

Kansas range map for the Plainbelly Water Snake

Range:   Found from Doniphan County in northeastern Kansas southwestward to the southern High Plains in Seward County.
  • Description:   Harmless. Strongly keeled scales; uniform cream or yellowish belly with indistinct dark shading on edges of scales; underside of tail uniform cream or yellowish; head, body and tail either a uniform dark gray, olive or brown (old adults) or with 30–40 blotches of similar color separated by very indistinct light bands (young adults). Young strikingly marked with dark brown bands and/or blotches separated by light bands.
  • Habits:    Inhabits swamps, marshes, ponds and slowmoving portions of streams; least aquatic of Kansas water snakes; wanders great distances from water during summer. Active from March to October. During day, basks near water on driftwood, low-hanging branches, stumps or brush. At night, forages for food. Litters vary from 4-30 young born in late July, August and September. Adults feed on frogs; young prefer small fishes.

Click here for information on precautions against being bitten by snakes
and what to do if you have been bitten by one.

Other Kansas water snakes

Diamondback Water Snake Northern Water Snake

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Text: Joseph T. Collins & Suzanne L. Collins
Photos: Suzanne L. Collins & Bob Gress
Range Maps & Web Design: Jim Mason