Endangered Species
Midwest Region



Midwest Region State Map

The Midwest Region includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. Find a location near you


Endangered Species Program

Conserving and restoring threatened and endangered species and their ecosystems


Great Lake Restoration Initiative logo

Copperbelly water snake (Nerodia erythrogaster neglecta)


copperbelly water snake

Photo by USFWS


Northern Distinct Population Segment - north of 40 north latitude; approximately Indianapolis, Indiana (the southern population segment is not protected under the Endangered Species Act)

Status: Threatened, listed January 29, 1997


Habitat: Wooded and permanently wet areas such as oxbows, sloughs, brushy ditches and floodplain woods


Lead Region: 3


Region 3 Lead Office: East Lansing, Michigan Field Office


Range: Indiana, Michigan, Ohio

The copperbelly water snake, an endangered species, is found in southern Michigan and northern Indiana and Ohio. It feeds primarily on amphibians, mostly frogs and tadpoles. Copperbelly water snakes need shallow wetlands along the edges of larger wetlands complexes where they can hunt for frogs, but they also require multiple wetland types as well as adjacent uplands.


Copperbelly water snakes have a solid dark, usually black, back with a bright orange-red underside that is visible from a side view. They grow 3 to 5 feet in length and are non-venomous.


If you see a copperbelly, let us know!



Listen to a podcast!

Sarah Leon talks to FWS biologist Barb Hosler about the copperbelly and efforts to save it from extinction.

Audio Clip



Life history, Ecology and Regulatory Information

Species Profile links to national U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service web pages


Fact Sheet


Copperbelly final listing package - full text (pdf)


Copperbelly Water Snake: Identification, Status, Ecology and Conservation in the Midwest by the Center for Reptile and Amphibian Conservation and Management


Recovery Information

May 2010: 5-Year Review (16-page PDF)


2009 Recovery Land Acquisition Grant: Copperbelly water snake habitat acquisition in Williams County, OH, and Hillsdale County, MI (Williams County, OH and Hillsdale County, MI)


Copperbelly Water Snake Recovery Plan (Dec. 2009)


Private Stewardship Grant (May 2007): Restoring Southeast Michigan’s High Diversity Landscapes Through Collaborative Stewardship – Hillsdale, Jackson, Lenawee, Oakland, and Washtenaw Counties, Michigan


Private Stewardship Grant (May 2007): Reforestation and Wetland Restoration for Permanent Native Habitat in the St. Joseph River Watershed – Hillsdale County, Michigan; Defiance and Williams Counties, Ohio; Allen, Dekalb, and Noble Counties, Indiana


Copperbelly Water Snake Conservation Agreements for Illinois, Southern Indiana, and Kentucky (includes information on life history)




Midwest Endangered Species Home


Last updated: March 12, 2018