Brown Water Snake
Nerodia taxispilota

Family: Natricidae - Harmless Live-Bearing Snakes

Typical Adult Size: 30 to 60 inches

Reproduction: live bearing

Eye Pupil: round

Dorsal Scales: keeled

Anal Scale: divided

SC Range Map

Additional Images

Brown Water Snakes are large, heavy-bodied snakes most often found in swamps of the low country. They are usually misidentified as venomous Cottonmouth Snakes. Browns like to bask on limbs higher above the water than most other water snakes. At the first perception of danger, they will drop into the water making a loud splash. If a fisherman's boat happens to be below, they may fall into it. Such events give rise to many stories of Cottonmouths jumping into boats.

The eyes of Brown Water Snakes are set well forward on the head. Browns are fond of eating catfish.

In recent decades, Brown Water Snakes have extended their range into the Piedmont of South Carolina.

Additional Images:

Brown Water Snake, Nerodia taxispilota
Adults (basking on banks of South Edisto River, Aiken County)
Adult (digesting heavy meal), Orangeburg County
Adult (fishing), Orangeburg County
Adult (basking), Orangeburg County
Adult (basking), Orangeburg County
Adult (swimming), Colleton County
Adult, McCormick County
Adult (hiding in rocks), McCormick County
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July 07, 2009
Contact: South Carolina Reptiles and Amphibians

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