The plain-bellied water snake or the Nerodia erythrogaster is a species of non-venomous snake that is commonly found in the Southeastern United States. Despite its rather boring name, the plain-bellied water snake is a fascinating creature with a lot of interesting characteristics and quirks that make it a worthwhile subject for anyone interested in reptiles.
One of the most notable features of the plain-bellied water snake is its appearance. As the name suggests, this snake has a plain brown or gray belly that contrasts sharply with its reddish-brown or grayish-brown back. The scales are keeled, which means they have a small ridge running down the middle of each scale. This gives the snake a rough or “bumpy” appearance. The eyes of the plain-bellied water snake are also quite striking, with vibrant yellow or orange coloration.
This species has a unique adaptation that allows them to survive in their environment. They have a special gland in their skin that allows them to excrete a musky odor that is unappealing to predators. Some individuals may also hiss and thrash around when confronted to scare off their attacker.
The plain-bellied water snake is also an excellent swimmer and can stay submerged for up to 30 minutes. This ability is essential to its survival because it is primarily a water-dwelling creature. It inhabits a variety of aquatic environments, including streams, lakes, and swamps.
Despite its non-venomous nature, the plain-bellied water snake can be defensive when threatened or cornered. Its bite is not venomous, but it can be painful due to its sharp teeth. However, they are not aggressive to humans, and they would rather flee instead of fight.
Breeding typically occurs in the late spring or early summer. Males will often engage in wrestling matches with one another to establish dominance, and the winner of these contests will then mate with a female. Females will lay eggs in the summer months, and the young will hatch in the early fall.
The plain-bellied water snake, while not necessarily a household name, is a prime example of the fascinating creatures that share our planet. Their unique adaptations and behavior make them an excellent subject for those who are interested in study or appreciate wildlife. So, next time you see a brown snake slithering through the water, stop and appreciate the beauty and complexity of this ancient and wonderful creature.