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Diamondback Water Snake

Diamondback Water Snake
Nerodia rhombifer
(Class: Reptilla, Family: Colubridae)


Diagnosis:  The Diamondback Water Snake is typically olive, yellow-brown, or brown and has a pattern of diamond shapes down the middle of the back. The ventral side is yellow or cream-colored and spotted with black or brown. The scales are keeled, causing the snakes rough appearance. Females, on average, are slightly larger than males. This species is non-venomous but extremely aggressive, and often misidentified as a venomous cottonmouth. They release musk and fecal mater when behaving defensively.


Distribution: This snake be found near almost any body of water in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma,Tennessee and Texas, as well as south into Mexico.


Habitat: The Diamondback Watersnake frequently inhabits ponds, rivers, streams, lake borders, canals,  swamps, and marshes. They can be found basking on rocks or logs near the edge of water during the day and trolling the water for prey at night.  

Video: vg005 Diamondback Watersnake





Diet:  They feed on a wide variety of animals associated with water such as fish, amphibians, turtles, snakes, invertebrates, and mammals. They hunt by patrolling the water next to the shore for food. These snakes do not constrict their prey and instead swallow them alive.


Conservation Status: Not Threatened



Behler, J.L. and W.F. King.  1979. Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. Chanticleer Press, Inc., New York. 636 pp.




Encyclopedia of Life.
YouTube: vg005 Diamondback Watersnake:


Image Credits: 

Diamondback Water Snake US Distribution: Denise R. Gregoire


Diamondback Water Snake: Andrew Hoffman


Submitted by: Kevin W. Morton, July, 2011


Wichita State University
Generated on 2011. This website is continuously updated.
Comments can be sent to Mary Liz Jameson.
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