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The Common Watersnake or sometimes called Northern Watersnakes, are a very common non-venomous water snake in Butler County and very commonly found at MetroParks of Butler County park locations and other places too!
It is a very stout-bodied snake that has lots of different variations on color and patterns. This very important animal in the water/land food chain is often confused with a venomous snake…the water moccasin/cottonmouth, not found in Ohio.
Habits: they like to bask on logs, stumps, and low branches to absorb sun since they are cold-blooded animals. Many times they are unseen because of their incredible camouflage. They usually flee from people and will drop in water and disappear. If grabbed though, they will quickly defend themselves and will bite, until no longer threatened. The larger ones are capable of producing a painful and deep laceration, so don’t pick them up. Leave them alone.
They also secrete an very stinky substance from their musk glands when handled. Yet another cool defense mechanism to survive from being eaten by larger predators.
The larger snake in the picture is probably the female and the smaller snakes are males trying to mate with her. Breeding occurs April – June. They are ovoviviparous which means live-bearing. This female snake will carry her eggs inside her body and then give birth to free living young. The babies are born in July - September.
Be on the look out for these reptiles while out on your adventures! Tomorrow's challenge will be a scavenger hunt at Elk Creek MetroPark's Meadow Ridge Area.
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