Broad-Banded Watersnake (Broad-Banded Water Snake)
A beautiful semiaquatic snake named for its broad, irregular shaped bands or blotches. The bands may be brown, red-brown, or black and are separated by yellow or yellowish gray. There is often a faint dark line running diagonally from the eye past the corner of the mouth. The belly is yellow and boldly marked with black. The young are more brightly colored than the adults. When threatened and not allowed to escape, this species will flatten its head and neck and try vigorously to defend itself. Watersnakes bite viciously in defense and also secrete a strong-smelling musk from glands at the base of the tail.
Similar species: This and other watersnakes are often confused with the venomous western cottonmouth and needlessly killed. The true cottonmouth is more heavy-bodied with a larger, chunky head; has a facial pit between the nostril and eye on either side of the head; is darker; and has a light line from each eye to the corner of the mouth.