There are about 260 snake species that live in water, some of which are extremely rare and dangerous. The most common species of water snake is the enormous Northern water snake.
But, there are plenty of unique candidates, such as the Lake Taal snake, the Dusky sea snake, and of course, the highly venomous Belcher’s sea snake.
This article will cover nine unusual snakes that live in water, their whereabouts, and specifics.
Snakes That Live In Water
1. Belcher’s Sea Snake
One of the scariest members of the elapid sea snake family, the faint-banded snake is so venomous that one drop of its venom can kill a human within minutes.
Thankfully, they spend their time in the reefs of the Indian Ocean, around the Gulf of Thailand, New Guinea, and Indonesia.
Faint-banded snakes prefer to swim in the shallow areas of the coast because of plentiful prey. The reefs also provide them with handy hiding spots that are safe from predators.
2. Lake Taal Snake
The Lake Taal snake has so many aliases that it could be mistaken for a spy. It’s also known as the Garman’s sea snake, the Luzon sea snake, and the Philippine freshwater sea snake.
We know that last name is a bit confusing, but that’s one of the things that’s so special about this species. It’s one of two sea snake species that can swim and survive in freshwater. It’s also very venomous.
This species is pretty elusive and is only found in Lake Taal in the Philippines.
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3. Northern Water Snake
Northern water snakes are pretty harmless in that they’re not venomous. But, they can be aggressive when handled and will bite freely.
This species is common throughout the eastern half of the United States and southern Ontario.
They’re often mistaken for Cottonmouths due to the dark bands on their bodies. Adult Northern water snakes can reach up to 4.5 feet in length – making them large among the water snakes category.
4. Checkered Keelback
Also known as the Asiatic water snake, Checkered Keelbacks are native to India. They’re not venomous but can bite if nervous – which is quite painful because of their sharp teeth.
These snakes frequent freshwater bodies like lakes, ponds, and even rice paddies in search of prey. They survive on a diet of toads, frogs, fish, and on occasion, birds.
The Checkered Keelback gets its bizarre name from the beautiful checkered pattern running along its body. These snakes can vary in colors, such as green, brown, or yellow.
5. Dusky Sea Snake
The Dusky sea snake or the Timor Reef snake is native to the Timor Sea, located between Indonesia, East Timor, and Australia.
They’re generally dark, but their colors can range from a rare purple-brown to a blackish-brown. Dusky sea snakes are venomous, but not much is known about their temperament because the species is endangered.
As adults, these snakes will only measure up to 78cm – which is another factor that makes them unique among marine snakes.
6. Banded Water Snake
Banded water snakes have stocky bodies with brown or gray bands and reddish-brown crossbands. Adults of the species can grow to 106cm in length.
You can tell a Banded water snake apart from its Northern counterpart, thanks to a dark stripe on its head around the eyes.
Commonly found in the coastal areas of North Carolina, these snakes survive on a diet of fish, frogs, and the odd salamander or two.
But don’t let that fool you. When threatened, Banded snakes can emit a foul-smelling liquid from their anal glands. And if that wasn’t enough, they strike sideways and can tear the flesh of their attackers.
7. Yellow-bellied Sea Snake
The Yellow-bellied snake has an extensive range of habitats among sea snakes. They’re found in the Indo-Pacific regions, some parts of the Indian Ocean, and the areas around Christmas Island, Australia. In short, everywhere, except the Atlantic.
Yellow-bellies are bi-color snakes, with a bright yellow underbelly and a plain brown back. They get their name from their appearance. What makes this species even more remarkable is that they’re able to spend their whole lives underwater.
The skin of a Yellow-bellied snake can cover 33% of its oxygen needs by absorbing O2 through its skin. The species also have compressed, streamlined bodies and paddle tails to make swimming easier.
8. Sahul Reef Snake
Also known as the Short-nosed sea snake, this species is venomous, much like all the other marine snakes. They’re native to the Ningaloo Reef and Ashmore Reef in Australia.
Fully matured Sahul snakes can grow to 60cm in length. They’re known for their relatively small and pointy head, are brown in color with dark purple bands.
Unlike other sea snakes, this species prefers to roll in the deep, so to say, and swim at depths of 10 meters. They can close their nostril valves for up to two hours when they dive, thanks to their oxygen-absorbing skin.
Also, another fun fact, they only have one lung, despite being excellent divers. Even more strange is the fact that the male Short-nosed snakes have two hemipenes, for reasons unknown.
9. Turtle-headed Sea Snake
Turtle-headed sea snakes (aka egg-eating snakes) have a sporadic range. They’re common in the Great Barrier Reef, the Timor Sea Reef, and waters around the Philippines.
Like all the other less-exciting snake names, this species is named for its short and blunt head. They have sleek bodies and can vary in color. Though, the band patterns on their skin can range from yellow or white.
For some reason, Turtle-heads experience algal fouling (algae buildup) on their skin. This can not only affect their color but also change their movements and speed.
Their diet consists of demersal fish eggs located near the bottom of the seafloor. Also, unlike other sea snakes, the egg-eating variety has no palatal teeth, which is why they don’t go after large prey.
Sea and water snakes both qualify as snakes that live in water. They belong to entirely different families, differ in temperament, and populate various parts of the world.
However, every species among the two types has something extraordinary to offer. For instance, the skunk-like abilities of the Banded water snake are pretty singular, if not stinky. Then there’s the Luzon sea snake that can thrive in freshwater.
Here’s hoping this was an informative and fun learning experience for all our readers. We’ll be back with more exciting and strange wildlife facts the next time!