Nerodia sipedon

Northern Watersnake

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Nerodia sipedon

Photo taken by Chris Slesar.

Nerodia sipedon near water

Young adult (about 3 feet long).
Photo taken by D. Muzzy.

Nerodia sipedon: zoomed in to show patterns near water

Zoom on previous photo to highlight young adult's pattern.

Nerodia sipedon: patterned specimen

Dorsal view of young adult.
Photo by E. Talmage.

Nerodia sipedon: patterned belly

Note pattern on the belly.
Photo credit unavailable.

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Distribution of N. sipedon in Vermont

Distribution Map

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When young, the Watersnake has reddish-brown blotches on a cream background. They darken with age to almost solid black with dark brown blotches. Their underside is white (or yellow) and black with red crescents. Watersnakes are thick snakes with heavily keeled scales; adults are usually 3-4 feet long (the longest documented in Vermont is 52 inches).


They inhabit lowland shallow wetlands with emergent vegetation and nearby rocks. It's primarily found near scattered marshes in the Lake Champlain Basin.


This species has a state natural heritage rank of S3 (uncommon, localized). The Northern Watersnake has been designated a Species of Greatest Conservation Need (medium priority) in Vermont’s Wildlife Action Plan. Please report all sightings of this species in Vermont. Take photos if possible. Even historic sighting information is useful.

More Info

Species summary written by Kaile Burgess.

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