to What's That Snake? HOME Copperhead Banner
to appearanceto rangeto lifestyleto Links
to Quick ID to ID by Name to Myths & Truthsto About to Glossaryto Further Reading

Copperbelly Water Snake <image courtesy of Ohio Department of Natural Resources>

  • Adult body length: 30 - 48 inches, record 62 inches
  • Length at birth: 7½ - 13 inches
  • Breeding period: April to June
  • Young per year: 5 - 27 young born alive
  • Typical foods: small fish, frogs and tadpoles


The back and sides of this snake are uniformly black or brownish black. The under surface, in contrast, is orange red or scarlet. The scales are keeled, and the anal plate is divided in about 9 out 10 individuals.

Overall Range
The Copperbelly Water Snake has a small, unconnected range with populations in southern Michigan, northwestern Ohio, northeastern and southern Indiana, southeastern Illinois, and western Kentucky.
Range in Ohio
This snake has been found only in Hardin and Williams Counties in the northwestern part of the state. Today, only the Williams County population is known to have survived, although other isolated groups may still exist.
Copperbelly Water Snake Ohio Map

Local Habitat
Woodland ponds and swampy areas, and woody edges of streams and rivers. In dry summertime they often are found in adjacent meadows and old fields.


According to one report, these snakes are active in early evening and hunt for their food in open water. The Copperbelly Water Snake is rare in Ohio. It is very active and aggressive, and will vent its foul-smelling musk freely when threatened or attacked.


ODNR, Division of Wildlife, "Species A-Z Guide"

Center for Reptile and Amphibian Conservation and Management

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: Copperbelly Water Snake Fact Sheet

to Top of page
OPLIN Disclaimer
© 2001 Ohio Public Library Information Network (OPLIN)
The Ohio Historical Society (OHS)
Date of last revision: 06/06/2007
to The Ohio Historical Society