Description: The red-bellied watersnake is easily identified by its unmarked, orange or reddish belly and unmarked, reddish brown to dark brown back. The chin is usually lighter in color. Juvenile redbellies look very different from the adults as they are boldly marked with series of dark crossbands on the neck and three rows of alternating blotches on the rear part of the body. Like other watersnakes, the tip of the tail is often missing as it is easily broken off. Although they cannot regenerate like lizards, loss of the tail apparently causes them little harm. Juvenile red-bellied watersnakes are light brown and have dark crossbands down the back. Unlike other watersnakes, juvenile red-bellied watersnakes have unmarked ventral bellies.
Feeding/Diet: These snakes feed on a variety of other animals but mostly eat frogs, toads, and salamanders.
Activity/Behavior: Red-bellied watersnakes often bask in the sun during the daytime, but at night will travel overland and forage for prey.
Habitat/Range: These snakes are found in and around a variety of aquatic environments including lakes, swamps, and along rivers. Unlike other watersnakes, red-bellied watersnakes often travel overland far from permanent water sources.
Reproduction: Red-bellied watersnakes mate in the spring, and the females give birth to 6–50 young in early fall.
Miscellaneous: If threatened or captured, these snakes will vigorously defend themselves by biting repeatedly and smearing the antagonist with foul musk. Like many watersnakes, they are often misidentified as cottonmouths due to their dark coloration and preference for aquatic environments.