Copperbelly Water Snake

Nerodia erythrogaster neglecta

Copperbelly Water Snake Copperbelly Water Snake
Photo by Robert Rold Photography Photo by Robert Rold Photography
Copperbelly Water Snake
Photo by Robert Rold Photography

Description:  The Copperbelly Water Snake ranges in size from 2.5-4 feet.  Coloration is black to dark gray above and red to orange on the belly.  Dorsal color often encroaches on the belly.  Scales are keeled and anal plate is usually divided.

Habitat:  Found in wet, swampy ground and low areas bordering rivers.

Behavior:  The northern population (southern Michigan, northern Indiana, northwestern Ohio) of the Copperbelly Water Snake is listed as Threatened by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.  The southern population (western Kentucky, southern Indiana, southern Illinois) is under an unofficial Habitat Conservation Plan in which federal and state agencies work together with private landowners to conserve the habitat which this snake requires.  Most of the southern population resides in Kentucky.  It is illegal to possess or harm the Copperbelly Water Snake in Kentucky.

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Daviess County Audubon Society