Copperbelly water snakes and its habitat
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Copperbelly Water Snakes and Its Habitat. By: Matt Tekulve. Simi-Aquatic and Aquatic Snakes. Queen Snake Garter Snake Northern Brown Water Snake Cottonmouth Diamondback Water Snake Midland Water Snake Red, Yellow and Copperbelly Water Snake.

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Copperbelly water snakes and its habitat l.jpg

Copperbelly Water SnakesandIts Habitat


Matt Tekulve

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Simi-Aquaticand Aquatic Snakes

  • Queen Snake

  • Garter Snake

  • Northern Brown Water Snake

  • Cottonmouth

  • Diamondback Water Snake

  • Midland Water Snake

  • Red, Yellow and Copperbelly Water Snake

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Adult IdentificationCopperbelly Water Snake Nerodia erythrogaster neglecta

  • Adult- Solid dark to black dorsal surface with a bright red to orange belly that extends to the chin

  • Length is between 3 to 5 feet Record 62 in


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Juvenile Identification

  • Juvenile’s are strongly blotched and banded similar to other juvenile water snakes

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Similar Species

  • Many times the Copperbelly may be misidentified for:

  • Northern Brown Water Snake

  • Cottonmouth

  • Midland Water Snake

  • Red and Yellowbelly water snake

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Types of Habitats


  • Wetlands

  • Uplands

  • Wintering

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Types of Wetlands

Floodplain Forest

Shrub Swamp

Undulating Shore line

Shallow Open Water

Ephemeral Wetland

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Upland Habitat

  • Copperbelly Water Snakes can travel Hundreds of yards from wetlands mostly in hot months

  • Travel, Shedding, birthing, digestion, refuge

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Wintering Habitat

  • Copperbelly Water Snakes

    Hibernate in Crayfish Burrows

    Late October to April

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  • Copperbelly Water Snakes are Simi-Aquatic

  • Average seasonal Home Range is 20 ha (50 acres)

  • Use 3-5 wetlands regularly

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  • Can not be intimidating

  • Riparian Buffer Strips

  • Short Upland Forest

  • Seasonal Wetlands

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  • North Range- Ohio (Williams Co.) and Michigan (Hillsdale Co.)

  • South Range- SE Illinois, S. Indiana,

    W Tenn., NW Kentucky

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Endangered Species List

  • Listed as an Endangered Species in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio

  • Are Protected under Federal Law

  • No killing of snakes Intentionally or unintentionally

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Cpperbelly Water Snake Conservation Agreement

  • Formed in 1997 In Illinois and Kentucky

  • Remove Threats to its existence

  • Cooperation of Private and Public Parties

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Cpperbelly Water Snake Conservation Agreement

  • To do this the state of Kentucky had to:

  • Describe the status of the Copperbelly

  • Why Protection was needed

  • Outline the Conservation Agreement

  • Address the Accomplishments and Weaknesses of the Conservation Agreement

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Natural Predators

  • Large Fish

  • Snapping Turtles

  • Herons

  • Hawks

  • Foxes

  • Raccoons

  • Opossums

  • Minks

  • Skunks

  • Domestic Dogs, Cats and Hogs

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Human as Predator: Management Problems

  • Loss of Habitat and Fragmentation

  • Wetland Drainage

  • Wetland Filling

  • Wetland Deepening

  • Agriculture Purposes

  • Surface mining

  • Water Quality

  • Pet Trade

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Management and Conservation Practices

  • Shallow Ephemeral and Permanent Wetlands

  • Wetlands in close proximity

  • Natural Corridors

  • Stock native amphibian eggs No Fish!

  • Upland, Forested areas to be minimum Timber Harvest

  • Restrict Vehicles and Heavy Equipment

  • Hibernation habitat

  • Edge from Cropland (Buffer Strips)

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  • 10-20 feet

  • Bush hogging, mowing and other maintenance should be done in the winter

  • Minimize use of crop and lawn Fertilizers, oil, paints, and other toxic chemicals

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Ways to Help

  • Learn about endangered species and their Habitat

  • Protect the habitat

  • Educate others