Brown Water Snake

Scientific Name
Nerodia taxispilota
Also Known As
Brown Watersnake
All of Florida
Fish, Frogs, Crustaceans, Worms
Life Expectancy
9 Years
The Brown Watersnake
Eastern Coral Snake conservation status - Least Concern

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This Snake is Not Venomous

Brown Water Snakes in Central Florida

The brown water snake (Nerodia taxispilota) is a non-venomous colubrid species found throughout the southeastern United States. As their name suggests, brown water snakes thrive in aquatic environments like the wetlands, swamps, and rivers of central Florida.

This guide provides identification tips, biology facts, and information on brown water snake habits, diet, reproduction, health risks, and prevention methods if encountered near residential areas.

Appearance and Identification

Brown water snakes can be identified by the following juvenile and adult characteristics

Adult Brown Watersnake

Photo 60912504 © Robert Simons, CC BY-NC

Adult Brown Water Snakes

  • Size: Adult brown water snakes are medium to large, measuring 36 to 54 inches (0.9 to 1.4 m) in total length.
  • Color: Adults are uniformly brown, grayish or reddish-brown above with yellow or cream underparts. The dorsal juvenile blotches fade but may be slightly visible.
  • Head: Arrowhead shape becomes obscured in older adults. Eyes are medium sized with round pupils.
  • Scales: Scales are weakly keeled with apical pits. The anal plate is divided.
juvenile Brown Watersnake

Photo 234306596 © Tommy Hamrick, CC BY-NC

Juvenile Brown Water Snakes

  • Size: Newborns measure 8 to 14 inches (20 to 36 cm) long. They grow rapidly, reaching over 2 feet (61 cm) in length within the first year.
  • Color: Juvenile brown water snakes have prominent dorsal blotches that fade as they mature. The blotches are dark brown framed in black on a brownish or grayish background.
  • Head: The head has dark postorbital bars and a prominent arrowhead shape.