Banded Water Snake


Actual Size: 2-4 feet.

Characteristics: Typically greenish gray, gray, or brown, with dark crossbands.


  • Banded water snakes are frequently mistaken for cottonmouth snakes (venomous).
  • They are nonvenomous snakes.
  • Banded water snakes live in and around marshes, streams, and lakes.

Banded Water Snake Identification in SE Louisiana and Mississippi

The banded water snake is a nonvenomous snake and they are commonly mistaken for cottonmouth snakes. These snakes have heavy bodies with both dark markings and lighter-colored scales. Banded water snakes can grow up to three feet long and have broad, flat heads, which is another characteristic that gets them mixed up with cottonmouth snakes so often.

Banded Water Snake Behaviors

As their name suggests, these snakes prefer to live in or near water—they are even known to be one of the strongest swimmers out of all types of snakes. It’s important to note they are typically found in freshwater sources, including lakes and ponds. While they aren’t aggressive, banded water snakes aren’t particularly friendly and will avoid contact with humans at all costs. When threatened, they may release an unpleasant odor or even bite; although their bite is not venomous it can still be quite painful.