Michigan State University masthead

Copper-bellied Water Snake

Copper-bellied Water Snake
Nerodia erythrogaster neglecta

Image of copper-bellied water snakeDescription

A large brown or black snake with an unmarked reddish or orange belly. The young have a blotched pattern which fades with maturity.

Adult Length:

3 to 5 feet.

Habitat and Habits

These snakes are found in or near river-bottom swamps, woodland ponds, and wooded river banks. They feed on frogs, tadpoles, and fish.


From 5 to 30 young are born in late summer or fall.

Range and Status

A very rare snake found only in the southern quarter of the Lower Peninsula. It is listed as ENDANGERED and protected by law in Michigan. Any sightings should be reported to the DNR Wildlife Division in Lansing.


James Harding
MSU Museum
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
(517) 353-7978