Yesterday I hiked near an iced-over beaver marsh.
Hey, what’s that black thing over there?
Answer: Northern Water Snake.
Just chillin’ like Bob Dylan.
It was moving very s-l-o-w-l-y.
Eventually it found a hole in the bank of the marsh and disappeared.
Who says herping season is over?
Third Eye Herp
Most of a Northern Water Snake’s activities during the month of April are spent basking in the sun. Males may not feed at all until after mating and females feed very little. Today I saw two pairs of Northern Water Snakes courting.
Males do not appear to be territorial and sometimes several males can be seen courting a female. Adult females are much larger and heavier-bodied than males. A courting male will crawl alongside a female, and rub his chin, neck or entire body against her.
There is a correlation between the size of the female and the number of offspring she will produce in August or September. Anywhere from a dozen to sixty babies are born alive, one at a time.
Baby Northern Water Snakes have black bands on a background of pale gray or light brown. As the snakes grow, their pattern fades, becoming obscure. Often adults are of an overall dark brown or black in color without any noticeable pattern.
Sunning is by far the most common activity you are likely to see Northern Water Snakes do. They can be observed on branches (like these snakes), on stone walls near waterways or on beaver lodges.
Third Eye Herp