water snake

water snake

Any of about 200 snake species of about 38 genera, especially Natrix and Nerodia, classified within the family Colubridae, found worldwide except in South America. Most species have a stout body with dark blotches or streaks and ridged scales. Some are similar in appearance to venomous species. They kill fishes and amphibians with a nonvenomous bite. The New World species live in or near water and bear live young; European species are less water-dependent and lay eggs. In defense they inflate the head, strike, and release a foul secretion. Average length is about 3 ft (1 m); some Old World species reach 6 ft (1.8 m).

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on water snake, visit Britannica.com.

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