Banded water snake

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Banded water snake
Nerodia fasciata CDC.png
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Genus: Nerodia
N. fasciata
Binomial name
Nerodia fasciata
(Linnaeus, 1766)
A Nerodia fasciata attempting to prey on a parvalbumin-coated lure. Parvalbumin is involved in prey signaling.[6]

The banded water snake or southern water snake (Nerodia fasciata) is a species of mostly aquatic, nonvenomous, colubrid snake endemic to the central and southeastern United States.

Geographic range[edit]

It is found from Indiana, south to Louisiana and east to Florida.


Adults of the banded water snake measures from 61 to 106.7 cm (24.0 to 42.0 in) in total length, with a record size (in the Florida subspecies) of 158.8 cm (62.5 in) in total length.[7] In one study of the species, the average body mass of adult snakes was 464.3 g (16.38 oz).[8]

It is typically gray, greenish-gray, or brown in color, with dark crossbanding. Many specimens are so dark in color that their patterning is barely discernible. They have flat heads, and are fairly heavy-bodied. If irritated, they release a foul-smelling musk to deter predators.[citation needed]

Their appearance leads them to be frequently mistaken for other snakes with which they share a habitat, including the less common,[citation needed] venomous cottonmouth.


Nerodia fasciata inhabits most freshwater environments such as lakes, marshes, ponds, and streams.[4]


It preys mainly on fish and frogs.[9] Using its vomeronasal organ, also called Jacobson's organ, the snake can detect parvalbumins in the cutaneous mucus of its prey.[6]


The species is ovoviviparous, giving birth to live young. The brood size varies from 9 to 50. Newborns are 200–240 mm (about 8-9.5 in) in total length.[10]


The three recognized subspecies of Nerodia fasciata, including the nominotypical subspecies, are:[11]


Some sources consider Nerodia clarkii compressicauda and Nerodia clarkii taeniata to be subspecies of Nerodia fasciata.[12] Also, some sources have considered Nerodia fasciata to be a subspecies of Nerodia sipedon.[3][10][13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hammerson, G.A. (2007). "Nerodia fasciata". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2007: e.T62237A12583389. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2007.RLTS.T62237A12583389.en. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  2. ^ Boulenger, G.A. 1893. Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume I., Containing the Families...Colubridæ Aglyphæ, part. Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, Printers). London. xiii + 448 pp. + Plates I.- XXVIII. (Tropidonotus fasciatus, pp. 242-244.)
  3. ^ a b Stejneger, L., and T. Barbour. 1917. A Check List of North American Amphibians and Reptiles. Harvard University Press. Cambridge, Massachusetts. 125 pp. (Natrix sipedon fasciata, p. 96.)
  4. ^ a b Conant, R. 1975. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, Second Edition. Houghton Mifflin. Boston. xviii + 429 pp. ISBN 0-395-19977-8 (paperback). (Natrix fasciata fasciata, p. 146 + Plate 20 + Map 100.)
  5. ^ Smith, H.M., and E.D. Brodie Jr. 1982 Reptiles of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. Golden Press. New York. 240 pp. ISBN 0-307-13666-3 (paperback). (Nerodia fasciata, pp. 156-157.)
  6. ^ a b Smargiassi, M. T.; Daghfous, G.; Leroy, B.; Legreneur, P.; Toubeau, G.; Bels, V.; Wattiez, R. (2012). Permyakov, Eugene A (ed.). "Chemical Basis of Prey Recognition in Thamnophiine Snakes: The Unexpected New Roles of Parvalbumins". PLoS ONE. 7 (6): e39560. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039560. PMC 3384659. PMID 22761824.
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ [2][permanent dead link]
  9. ^ Conant, R., and W. Bridges. 1939. What Snake Is That? A Field Guide to the Snakes of the United States East of the Rocky Mountains. D. Appleton-Century. New York and London. Frontispiece map + viii + 163 pp. + Plates A-C, 1-32. (Natrix sipedon fasciata, p. 103 + Plate 18, Figure 53.)
  10. ^ a b Wright, A.H., and A.A. Wright. 1957. Handbook of Snakes of the United States and Canada. Comstock. Ithaca and London. 1,105 pp. (in 2 volumes) (Natrix sipedon fasciata, pp. 525-529, Figure 156.)
  11. ^ The Reptile Database.
  12. ^ ITIS (Integrated Taxonomic Information System).
  13. ^ Schmidt, K.P., and D.D. Davis. 1941. Field Book of Snakes of the United States and Canada. G.P. Putnam's Sons. New York. 365 pp. (Natrix sipedon fasciata, pp. 221-222, Figure 72. + Plate 24, Center, on p. 344.)

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Linnaeus, C. 1766. Systema naturæ per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, diferentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio Duodecima, Reformata. L. Salvius. Stockholm. 532 pp. (Coluber fasciatus, p. 378.)