The broad-banded water snake is a beautiful, semi-aquatic colubrid that owes its name to the wide, irregular-shaped blotches or bands on its back. This subspecies of the banded water snake is usually active between late March and October.

Scientific Classifications

  • Suborder:Serpentes
  • Family:Colubridae
  • Genus:Nerodia
  • Species:N. fasciata
  • Subspecies:N. f. confluens

Conservation Status

Not EvaluatedNE

Not Evaluated

Data DeficientDD

Data Deficient

Least ConcernLC

Least Concern

Near ThreatenedNT

Near Threatened





Critically EndangeredCR

Critically Endangered

Extinct in the wildEW

Extinct in the wild




Broad Banded Water Snake Belly


It is typically 20-30 in (61-76 cm) in length.

Color and Appearance

Juvenile Broad Banded Water Snake

The stocky body of the snake bears an irregular pattern of broad black bands that fade to shades of orange or yellow and brown. Often a faint dark line runs diagonally from the eye past the corner mouth. The yellow belly is boldly black markings. The head is only slightly wider than the neck. It has keeled scales that are arranged in rows of 21-27 near the midbody. It has divided anal scales and round pupils. The juveniles are more brightly colored than the adults.

Are They Dangerous to Humans

When the snake feels threatened and cannot escape, it flattens its head and neck and vigorously tries to defend itself. Though the snake is non-venomous, it can viciously bite if harassed. It also secretes a strong-smelling musk from glands located at the base of its tail.

Broad Banded Water Snakes at a Glance


Its range includes Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, East Texas, Mississippi, and Missouri in the US.

Broad Banded Water Snake Picture


The broad-banded water snake is typically found in and around water bodies. The nocturnal serpent can sometimes be seen basking in the sun among branches above the water or on logs in river sloughs, cypress swamps, or oxbow lakes.

Nerodia fasciata confluens


It lives for 7-8 years.


Birds of prey like the great blue heron, semi-aquatic animals like the alligator, and other larger snakes eat the broad-banded water snake.


It feeds on frogs, fish, tadpoles, and toads.

Broad-banded Water Snake Image


Viviparous (gives birth to live young)

Courtship and mating occur in April and early May, with the young being born in late July, August, or early September. There are 7-40 young in a litter. They are about 7-9 in (17.78-22.86 cm) in length.

Similar Species


The cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus) can be distinguished from the broad banded water snake by its elliptical pupils. The venomous cottonmouth is also bigger and heavier.


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