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Diamondback Water Snake

Photo by Suzanne L. Collins

Common Name:  Diamondback Water Snake

Scientific Name: Nerodia rhombifer

Size: Length in Kansas up to 55 1/2 inches


Kansas range map for the Diamondback Water Snake

Range: Found from Leavenworth County in northeastern Kansas southwestward to the southern High Plains in Meade County; abundant at Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge.

Description: Harmless. Strongly keeled scales; dark spots shaped like half-moons scattered irregularly on yellow belly; 30–65 narrow dark brown, black or gray bands on a light gray or yellowish gray body. Young same as adults.

Habits: Inhabits permanent lakes, marshes and swamps and backwaters of rivers. Active from March to September; basks during the day on brush, logs and grassy banks along edge of water. In summer, searches for food at night. Large litters, ranging from 13-62 young are usually born from August to early October. Feeds primarily on slow-moving or dead fishes.