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Common Water Snake


Actual Size: 3 to 4′ long

Characteristics: Usually brown, gray, or black with reddish-brown to light brown spots or bands along the body.

Habitat: Can be found in any aquatic habitat, including streams in suburban and urban areas.


  • Will strike and bite, as well as release musk if captured.
  • Can often be found basking in tree limbs that hang over the water.
  • A nonvenomous snake that feeds primarily on fish and amphibians.

Common Water Snakes in Salina

Found throughout Salina, the common watersnake loves basking on logs and rocks, in reservoirs, and in the rip-rap that lines a shoreline. It feeds primarily on fish and amphibians.  Once water snakes reach about 1.5 feet in length, their food preference changes from fish to frogs and other larger animals like salamanders and toads.

Common Water Snakes Habitat

Water snakes are common near streams and rivers, where they like lounging in tree limbs hanging over the water. Active day and night, common water snakes search for prey on the lake or river bottom, investigating under rocks, branches, and crevices for prey. They prefer warm, permanent, shallow water with access to ledges, logs, and bridge piers. They can be found in both urban and rural environments. In the fall, they may migrate away from water to hibernation spots.

Common Water Snakes Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Though non-venomous, common water snakes are known to bite, so avoid interacting with them if possible. If not possible, exercise caution. When threatened, common water snakes will expand their jaw and flatten their head to make them look larger. They will strike and bite, and if captured, release musk. If you are having an issue with common water snakes on your property, consult a professional pest control company for removal.

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