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Endangered Species Program
Conserving and restoring threatened and endangered species and their ecosystems
Copperbelly water snake (Nerodia erythrogaster neglecta)
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.
Listen to a podcast!
Sarah Leon talks to FWS biologist Barb Hosler about the copperbelly and efforts to save it from extinction.
Life history, Ecology and Regulatory Information
Species Profile links to national U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service web pages
Copperbelly Water Snake: Identification, Status, Ecology and Conservation in the Midwest by the Center for Reptile and Amphibian Conservation and Management
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)
Last updated: March 12, 2018