NC Snake Pictures /Brown Water snake

Nerodia taxispilota

Non-venomous; adult size 32-64 inches (813 to 1,626 mm); common.
distribution map
Distribution key: blue=where snake is found

This nonvenomous large heavy-bodied snake with a wide, flat head and bulging jaws is frequently mistaken for a venomous cottonmouth snake. Note the very large "froggy" eyes which protrude above the top of the head (lower picture). The Brown Water snake lives in and along the water. This shy snake is frequently found basking on tree limbs overhanging the water. When the snake sees movement or is disturbed, it will drop quickly into the water. (The fishermen's tales of snakes dropping into their boats as they pass beneath overhanging trees are most likely this snake, although in every tale it is a cottonmouth they battle in the boat.) If the snake cannot escape, it may become aggressive, biting and expelling a foul-smelling musk. The Brown Water snake is important environmentally as it feeds on weak, deformed, sick and injured fish.

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These photos were taken by Matt Sweeney in Corolla, NC, on a marshy beach facing Currituck Sound.