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Canada's Species   Amphibians and reptiles

Northern Water Snake

Nerodia sipedon

Photo:David Rodrigue
Northern Water Snake. Photo:David Rodrigue

The northern water snake is sometimes mistaken for the vicious and toxic cottonmouth, due to their very similar colour pattern and relatively large size (the water snake can reach 135 cm). The cottonmouth however never occurs north of southern Virginia. The similarities don't end with looks though: if cornered and forced to defend themselves, water snakes can be particularly vicious, and even if their bite is not poisonous, it can result in bacterial infections. The water snake is, as its name suggests, an excellent swimmer, usually being found along rivers, streams, lakes or ponds.

Map of Northern Water Snake in Canada
Distribution of Northern Water Snake in Canada

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