Nerodia sipedon sipedon
• Length: 24-42 inches
• Peak Breeding Activity: April-June
• Gestation period : 3-5 months
• Number of offspring: 4-99
• Typical Foods: amphibians, fish, and small mammals
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.
Habitat and Habits
Common watersnakes are particularly fond of basking, and can often be seen sunning upon emerged 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 man, but when grabbed they are almost always extremely aggressive. 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.
Reproduction and Care of the Young
Mating occurs in April and June and the young are born in the late summer and fall. These snakes do not lay eggs. No parental care is involved.