diamondback water snake title.gif (10743 bytes)

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diamondback water snake1.jpg (152850 bytes)  Red Chute Bayou, Barksdale AFB, Bossier Parish, La.  Photo: Mike Monlezun

The diamondback water snake is our largest water snake.  The record is 63 inches. The average size range that I have seen and collected is 3 - 5 feet and very stout.  It is found throughout the state. As with most of our water snakes, it is generally absent from the marsh.  Although they inhabit fast moving streams and rivers, they are more common in slow moving waters.  The one pictured here is basking on a log in Red Chute Bayou in Bossier Parish.  It is a 4+ ft. snake would flee into the water whenever we got within 5' of it..

Wild caught water snakes should be handled with caution.  Not only can they be agressive, but they have very powerful musk glands near the cloaca that can make a a herper with even the best control gag.   It is just about impossible to catch one of these snakes at their most active time of day and not get "musked".  They thrash the tail and fling musk all over the place.  Unfortunately, the smell stays with you for a long time. I normally carry sanitized baby wipes with me, but they are useless against this smell.

Their diet is similar to most other water snakes: they primarily eat fish and frogs.  In captivity this can be a very oderous experience because of the fact that the feces from fish and frog eaters can be very "runny" with a very potent smell.

BEWARE!!  These and other large water snakes can inflict a very painful bite.   Just about anyone with some experience with these snakes can attest to their ability to inflict a very painful, bloody bite.  Many of them do calm down and can be handled with relative ease to make great exhibit animals -- if you can get over the oder, of course!


Please send comments and/or questions to kj@kingsnake.kingsnake.com

State Checklist | Herping in LA | Links | Authors | State Maps