Northern Water Snake

 

Juvenile snake.

 
22"-53" long, reddish brown to brownish black with dark crossbands on the neck region and alternating dark blotches on the back and sides which are wider than the spaces between them.  Pattern darkens with age, becoming completely black.  Found throughout the eastern and central U.S., in most aquatic habitats including saltmarshes.  Active day and night, and frequently basks along the shore.  Eats a variety of aquatic and terrestrial organisms, such as fish, amphibians, mammals, and crustaceans.  Bite is bad, and has an anticoagulant in saliva which causes wounds to bleed profusely.