Northern Water Snake
I found this northern water snake, nerodia sipedon, in Winston Salem today while out for a hike around Lake Katherine near the Reynolda Gardens. He was out sunning himself approximately 15 feet from the water. I am pretty sure I found this snake a few times last year as it frequents the same basking spot time after time. Very excited to have found it today. WOO HOO.
These snakes can be easily confused with snakes like the cottonmouth and copperhead who have a similar pattern and or lifestyle. This guy is absolutely harmless and a beneficial non venomous snake. You can tell that he was designed for semi-aquatic life by the positioning of his eyes more towards the top of his head. This allows him to sit in the water with less of his body exposed. Even though people will often confuse these guys with venomous snakes we know that his head doesn't have the characteristic arrow shape, his eyes have round pupils unlike venomous snakes whose eyes are situated with vertical slit pupils. These snakes are great aquatic predators and feed on fish and amphibians primarily. What a great find!