Water snakes in Tennessee are a type of non-venomous snakes that are present near aquatic environments. These snakes are usually carnivores and ovoviviparous and are known for swiftly climbing up the trees.
Research also indicates that water snakes can be venomous due to the presence of proteins in their saliva. The proteins produce anticoagulants which result in profound bleedings from the wound. These snakes then follow the blood trail of their prey to track them.
5 Types of water snakes in Tennessee
Here we have mentioned the five basic types of water snakes in Tennessee.
1. The Northern Water Snakes (Midland and common water snakes)
Belonging to the Colubridae family, these water snakes also have another name called Nerodia Sipedon. Their average height ranges up to 150cm, and they are a known type of non-venomous snake. Their diet consists of non-game fish, small aquatic animals, and amphibians. These aggressive snakes release a foul musk from the base of their tails if captured.
In addition, these snakes vary from greyish brown to reddish brown shades. Another defining feature of these snakes is three rows of half-moons on their yellow bellies. Northern water snakes are present in nearly quiet water bodies, such as edges of ponds, lakes, and rocks.
Plain-bellied water snakes are also redbelly, yellow bellies, and blotched water snakes due to their appearance. The height of an adult snake ranges from 24-40 inches. These snakes have two subtypes, i.e., yellow-bellied and copper-bellied water snakes.
Among all water snakes in Tennessee, these snakes spent an unusual amount of time on land. There naturally occur near ponds, lakes, wetlands, and floodplains. In scorching and humid seasons, these snakes retreat toward woodlands.
The diet of these snakes includes crayfish, small aquatic fish, amphibians, and some small animals on land. Another unique feature of these snakes is their ability to sit quietly and wait for the right time to catch their prey.
3. The Mississippi Green
Mississippi green water snakes are ovoviviparous, carnivorous, and non-venomous snakes. The scientific name of these snakes is Nerodia Cyclopion. This type of snake is medium-sized and ranges up to 130 cm. Green water snakes are easy to identify due to their greenish-brown color and minor marks.
The typical diet of Mississippi snakes constitutes frogs, tadpoles, and fish. The most common habitat of these snakes is cypress swamps, river sloughs, and edges of the lakes of western Tennessee. During the breeding season, the female retains its eggs in the oviduct. In this way, the mother gives rise to wholly developed young ones.
Also known as Nerodia rhombifer, these snakes range from 30-48 inches in length. Their color ranges from brown, yellow, and olive green. The identity marks of these snakes are the chain-like pattern on their backs. These water snakes of Tennessee prefer quieter habitats such as slow rivers and streams.
In addition, these snakes can climb up the trees and remain suspended upon the branches while searching for their prey. Unlike other types of snakes which eat their game alive, these snakes haul their prey to the nearest shore and wait for it to die before eating it.
Unlike other types of water snakes from Tennessee listed above, cottonmouth snakes are venomous and found in the wetlands and riversides. These snakes range from 30-42 inches in length and have thick heavy bodies. As the name indicates, the inside of the mouth of these snakes is bright white (like cotton). If threatened, these snakes hiss and spread their mouth to terrify the opponent.
Water snakes in Tennessee are known for their aggressive nature. If threatened or agitated, they bite or release a foul smell (from the glands near their tails). Furthermore, sometimes, they also defecate or vomit in threatening situations. However, some are calm and do not chase or harm people unless disturbed.