Yellow bellied water snakes are a type of non-venomous snake that are commonly found throughout the United States and Canada. These snakes are well-known for their brightly colored belly and their unique characteristics, which make them easy to identify. In this article, we will explore some interesting facts about yellow bellied water snakes and discuss how to identify them.
Yellow bellied water snakes are medium-sized snakes that can grow up to 4 feet in length. They have a slender body with a long, flattened head and round pupils. Their scales are smooth and glossy, with distinct patterns of brown or dark blotches on a light gray or yellowish background. The most distinguishing feature of the yellow bellied water snake is its bright yellow or orange belly, which is bordered by two black stripes that extend the entire length of the body.
Yellow bellied water snakes are primarily found in freshwater habitats, such as rivers, streams, lakes, and swamps. They are especially active during the warmer months of the year, when they bask in the sun along the edges of streams and other bodies of water. These snakes are strong swimmers and can often be seen floating on the surface of the water.
Yellow bellied water snakes are carnivorous and feed on a variety of prey, including fish, frogs, small mammals, and insects. They are known to be voracious eaters and will consume prey that is up to twice their own size.
Yellow bellied water snakes are generally docile and non-aggressive towards humans. When they feel threatened, they may flatten their body and hiss, but they are not known to be biters. These snakes may emit a strong odor from specialized glands near their anus when they are handled or threatened. Yellow bellied water snakes are active during the day and at night and are known to hibernate during the winter months in areas where the temperature drops below freezing.
Yellow bellied water snakes are easy to identify based on their distinctive coloration and patterns. They can sometimes be confused with other types of water snakes, such as the western or northern water snake, but their bright yellow or orange underbelly is the most distinguishing characteristic. The two black stripes that border their yellow belly also help to identify them. If you come across a yellow bellied water snake, it is important to observe it from a safe distance and avoid handling it, as with any snake.
In conclusion, yellow bellied water snakes are fascinating creatures that are an important part of the freshwater ecosystem. They are easy to identify based on their colorful belly and distinctive characteristics, and are generally harmless to humans. If you are lucky enough to spot a yellow bellied water snake in the wild, take a moment to appreciate its beauty and unique adaptations for aquatic life.