NON-VENOMOUS

Other common names

Florida Green Water Snake

Basic description

Most adult Florida green watersnakes are about 30-55 inches (76-140 cm) in total length. Adults are stout-bodied snakes and may be greenish, brownish, or orangish, with no real distinctive markings other than dark speckling. The head is large, with small scales between the eye and the upper lip scales. Juvenile coloration is similar to that described for adults.

dull green snake in marsh grass
Florida green watersnake. Photo courtesy of johnjinjohny/iNaturalist

Range in Florida

Florida green watersnakes are found throughout mainland Florida west to Walton County. They have not been recorded in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Holmes counties in the western Panhandle, and they are absent from the Florida Keys.

Assessment of risk to people and pets

Non-venomous. Florida green watersnakes are not dangerous to people or pets, but they will readily bite to defend themselves. These snakes are not aggressive and avoid direct contact with people and pets. Virtually all bites occur when the snakes are intentionally molested.

Comparison with other species

dark snake with tan striped head
Photo by Coleman Sheehy.

Florida Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon conanti) If the head is viewed from above, the eyes of cottonmouths cannot be seen while the eyes of watersnakes are visible. Cottonmouths have vertically elliptical (cat-like) pupils, whereas watersnakes have round pupils. Cottonmouths have a facial pit between the nostril and the eye, whereas watersnakes do not.

Saltmarsh watersnake
Photo courtesy of Luke Smith.

Saltmarsh Snake (Nerodia clarkii) Saltmarsh watersnakes often have several dark stripes running down the entire or partial length of the body, and they are usually only found along the coast in saltwater and brackish habitats.

Southern watersnake
Photo courtesy of Todd Pierson.

Southern Watersnake (Nerodia fasciata) Southern watersnakes have broad black, brown, or red crossbands (often bordered with black) down the back and a dark stripe that extends from the eye to the angle of the jaw.

Brown watersnake
Photo courtesy of Todd Pierson.

Brown Watersnake (Nerodia taxispilota) Brown watersnakes have squarish dorsal blotches along the entire body.

Share your observations

You can help scientists better understand the biology and distribution of this species by sharing your observations. Send photos or videos of interesting observations, along with associated information, by emailing the herpetology staff at the Florida Museum for documentation in the Museum’s Herpetology Master Database. You can also post your observations on iNaturalist.

Additional helpful information

Do you have snakes around your house? Learn how to safely co-exist with snakes.

Still have questions about snakes or identifications? Feel free to email the herpetology staff at the Florida Museum with your questions or feedback on this profile.

Banner photo courtesy johnjinjonny/iNaturalist/CC-BY-NC-4.0  Please credit any photographers on the page and see our copyright policy.