Nerodia sipedon


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Nerodia sipedon
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common Name(s):
English Lake Erie Water Snake

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2007
Date Assessed: 2007-03-01
Assessor(s): Hammerson, G.A.
Reviewer(s): Cox, N., Chanson, J.S. & Stuart, S.N. (Global Reptile Assessment Coordinating Team)
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, tolerance of habitat modification, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The large range of this species encompasses most of the eastern United States and a relatively small portion of adjacent southeastern Canada, from Maine, southern Quebec, and southern Ontario to Minnesota, extreme southern South Dakota, and eastern Colorado, and south to extreme northern Texas, southern Louisiana, the Florida panhandle, western South Carolina, and North Carolina, at elevations from sea level to around 1,675 m (5,500 feet) (Conant and Collins 1991, Hammerson 1999, Ernst and Ernst 2003, Stebbins 2003, Gibbons and Dorcas 2004).
Canada; United States
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species is represented by a very large number of occurrences (subpopulations). The adult population size is unknown but probably exceeds 1,000,000. This snake is abundant in most areas of its range. The extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, number of subpopulations, and population size are probably relatively stable.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Habitats include creeks, rivers, canals, lakes, oxbows, ponds, reservoirs, marshes, bogs, and swamps; this snake usually inhabits freshwater but also occurs in brackish and saltwater habitats in some areas (Ernst and Ernst 2003, Gibbons and Dorcas 2004). It frequents sunny areas, especially piles of flood-deposited debris, logs, or rocks, at the water's edge. Hibernation sites often are in burrows, among rocks, or in deep crevices, at the water's edge or in uplands near water.
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): No major threats are known. This snake tolerates a good deal of habitat alteration.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Many occurrences are in protected areas.

Bibliography [top]

Conant, R. and Collins, J.T. 1991. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians: Eastern and Central North America. Third Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts.

Ernst, C.H. and Barbour, R.W. 1989. Snakes of Eastern North America. George Mason University Press, Fairfax, Virginia. 282 pp.

Ernst, C.H. and Ernst, E.M. 2003. Snakes of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Books, Washington, D.C.

Gibbons, J.W. and Dorcas, M.E. 2004. North American Watersnakes: A Natural History. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma. xxvi + 439 pp.

Hammerson, G.A. 1999. Amphibians and reptiles in Colorado. Second edition. University Press of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado.

IUCN. 2007. 2007 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Available at: (Accessed: 12th September 2007).

Mount, R.H. 1975. The Reptiles and Amphibians of Alabama. Auburn University Agricultural Experiment Station, Auburn, Alabama. vii + 347 pp.

Citation: Hammerson, G.A. 2007. Nerodia sipedon. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 05 September 2015.
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