Two Watersnakes Seen at Onslow Discovery Gardens

— Written By Diana Rashash

As the weather warms, snake sightings will become much more common. We have 38 varieties of snakes in NC, of which only six are venomous. Among our non-venomous snakes are several watersnakes. Two of these are present in the ponds at the Onslow Discovery Gardens:  Redbelly watersnake (Nerodia erythrogaster) and Banded watersnake (Nerodia fasciata). As you can tell from the latin names, they are both members of the genus Nerodia.

Photo of Redbelly watersnake

This is a redbelly watersnake, which is a non-venomous snake native to eastern NC. Photo by D. Rashash

Photo of banded watersnake

This is a banded watersnake. It is a non-venomous snake common to eastern NC. Photo by D. Rashash

Both snakes live around lakes, swamps, ponds, and rivers. They also both eat frogs and salamanders, as well as other prey. More information about both of these snakes is available from either the NC State Extension publication Snakes or online at the Amphibians and Reptiles of NC website.

Just remember:  even though these snakes are non-venomous, they are wild creatures. Leave them alone, because they can and do bite! Instead, enjoy them from a distance, and realize that they do have a beneficial role in our environment.