Common Watersnake (Nerodia sipedon) - Ohio Herp Atlas

Common Watersnake Nerodia sipedon

The common watersnake is one of the most widely distributed and certainly one of the most abundant snakes in Ohio. It may inhabit just about any permanent body of water. This stout-bodied snake shows extreme variations in color and pattern and is unfortunately confused by many with the venomous water moccasin, or cottonmouth. The cottonmouth, however, does not occur in Ohio; it ranges no farther north than southeastern Virginia in the eastern portion of its range, and extreme southern Indiana and Illinois, in the western part of its range. Common watersnakes are particularly fond of basking and can often be seen sunning upon logs, stumps, and rocks, or on low branches overhanging the water. They are very wary and when disturbed drop into the water and disappear quickly. Watersnakes usually flee from people, but when grabbed, they are quick to defend themselves. They bite viciously and large ones are capable of producing painful, deep lacerations. When picked up, they invariably secrete an obnoxious smelling substance from their musk glands. LENGTH: 24”–42”

Text courtesy of the Ohio Division of Wildlife:

Distribution Map
Distribution of the Common Watersnake (Nerodia sipedon)
Common Watersnake (Nerodia sipedon)