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Common Watersnakes Spotted

watersnake Common Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon sipedon)

On May 14, 2017, FODMers observed several common or northern watersnakes (Nerodia sipedon sipedon) off both sides of the boardwalk.   These snakes are more active on sunny days than on cloudy days and are known to mate near the water's edge on logs, over rocks or on branches. Their coloration helps them camouflage, but movement in the cattails may give away their presence.

watersnake2BCommon watersnakes are usually dark brown to gray with light blotches across their back. They are almost always seen near fresh to brackish water.These snakes are sexually dimorphic; the female is larger than the male.  Common watersnakes are harmless, but are often confused with the venomous cottonmouth, which is not found as far north in Virginia as Dyke Marsh, but is in southeastern Virginia.  Common watersnakes feed on fish and amphibians.

Photos by Laura Sebastianelli.