Endangered Species
Midwest Region



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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


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Copperbelly water snake

Photo by Carrie Tansy; USFWS


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.


This snake has 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!



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

5-Year Review (2018) Adobe PDF Icon


5-Year Review (2010) Adobe PDF Icon


Copperbelly Water Snake Recovery Plan (Dec. 2009)


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




Midwest Endangered Species Home


Last updated: October 10, 2018