These pictures of a Northern Watersnake were taken by Holly Parker from the causeway at the Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area in Addison a couple of weeks ago. As its name implies,  the Northern Watersnake spends much of its life in the water hunting for frogs, fish, salamanders, invertebrates and even small birds and mammals that happen to cross their paths. Identified by their thick body, brown coloration (young ones with cream bands) and method of swimming partially submerged in water rather than skimming on top of it, they are probably most often seen while basking on shore as in these pictures. Pugnacious and aggressive they are known to be biters by people who handle them, but thought their saliva has anti-coagulant  properties, their bite is not considered dangerous to humans.

The Northern Watersnake is designated as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need by the State of Vermont, so all sightings should be reported. You can do that by making a report through The Vermont Reptile & Amphibian Atlas, and now you can also make a report by posting your sighting to their partners at the Vermont Atlas of Life.

– Ron Payne