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The Watersnake belongs to the Colubridae family.
The Watersnake can be found throughout most of the Southeastern United States.
Size and Longevity:
Watersnakes can grow to be about 4 feet long. An adult’s weight averages about 2 pounds, and their average life span is between 10 and 15 years.
The Watersnake does well in captivity and is generally very tame. Like most snakes, Watersnakes are Nocturnal, coming out at night and staying hidden during the day. Watersnakes are very fast and their best defense is to run away. Over time they may settle down a bit, but they are very skiddish during interactions with humans and try anything they can to get away.
Habitat and Cage:
Baby Watersnakes do not need much space but as they grow they will need more room. The general rule is that the enclosure should be no less than two-thirds of the snake’s full length. A Watersnake will spend most of it’s time on the ground or in a tree near water.
Some type of substrate needs to be provided, which is generally aspen shavings or newspaper. Never use any type of pine in the enclosure because the oils from pine are toxic to snakes. The terrarium should be set up so there is a hot end (80°-85°F) and cool end (70°-75°F). The temperature should not be allowed to drop below 70°F or be raised above 90°F at any time. There should be a hiding spot in both temperature zones for the snake’s comfort. Not providing adequate hiding areas can lead to stress which can cause health problems and a shorter life span.
Watersnakes live in a warm and semi-humid environment; therefore their cages should imitate this environment. The humidity should be kept near 50% and can be raised to 70% during the shedding period, but for no longer than one week. A water bowl big enough for the snake to coil inside of must be provided. The water is necessary for the snake’s survival and will help maintain the humidity of the enclosure.
These snakes do not need any special lighting, but they will need approximately 12 of light and 12 of darkness each day to simulate their natural environment. Almost any type of light will work including a regular light bulb or the natural light.
Young Watersnakes need to eat once every 7 to 10 days while adults only need to eat once every 2 weeks. Over feeding (power feeding) can lead to long term health problems and a shorter life span. Food sources include frogs (including tadpoles) and fish. The meal provided should be approximately the size of the largest part of the snake’s body.
Handling a snake too soon after eating can induce regurgitation so handling is not recommended for at least 2 days. It takes approximately 10 days to completely digest food depending on the size of the prey and the temperature of the enclosure.