The beautiful patterns of contrasting black, dark brown or reddish saddles on lighter tan, brown or gray background help to distinguish young northern water snakes from other snake species in the Great Lakes Region. Aging northern water snakes tend to darken over time until they become a near uniform color making it difficult to see the pattern. Able to stay underwater for over an hour at a time, this snake hunts small fish, frogs and a variety of other prey. Often persecuted for eating sport fish, these snakes generally feed on smaller, slow moving or ill fish, and often eat dead fish that wash up on the beach. This snake has a reputation for being ill tempered when approached and, although it is not venomous, it can deliver a nasty bite. When observed from a distance these fascinating reptiles can be seen swimming, sunning themselves on rocks or branches, and even feeding.