Description: a large (140cm/55 inch record) water snake distinguished by being banded anteriorly, with alternating dorsal and lateral blotches further back. Normally 30 or more dorsal markings. Additional traits will help distinguish it from similar species. Water snakes have a divided anal scale, while the closely related garter snakes normally have a single anal scale.
Range: The northern limit of this subspecies extends from most of New England, through extreme southern Quebec, and southern Ontario, into southeastern Minnesota, and through most of Iowa, with populations becoming fragmented on the Great Plains but including most of Nebraska and Kansas. It intergrades with the midland water snake in a wide band which arcs from eastern Oklahoma, through Illinois, then south and east to the North Carolina coast.
Habitat: found in almost every aquatic habitat in its range, although prefering still waters.
Wild: generalized and likely to include earthworms, leeches, small fishes, frogs, salamanders, and occasionally other prey
Zoo: mainly minnows
Reproduction: like the garter snakes, placental live-bearers, which contrasts with their Old World relatives which mostly lay eggs.