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Salt Marsh Snake

Salt Marsh Snake

Nerodia clarkii                                                           Photo Stacia Hetrick ©


This is one of the few snakes that have managed to successfully exploit estuarine and saltwater habitats. It is a small, (usually less than 2-feet long) slender, rough-scaled water snake patterned with longitudinal stripes that tend to break up into blotches toward the tail.  The body is pale olive on the dorsal side.  The belly is black with a central row of pale spots. 

The salt marsh snake lives in coastal salt marshes and mangrove swamps, tidal creeks, ditches and pools, often in association with black mangrove. This snake is most often seen at night during low tide when it feeds on small fish that have become trapped in tidal pools.  It shelters in fiddler crab burrows during the daytime.  The Atlantic salt marsh snake is viviparous, it gives birth to 3-9 young.

The belt of mangrove swamps and salt marshes along the Halifax and Indian Rivers in Volusia County are critical habitat for the Atlantic salt marsh snake. Development in this area poses a serious threat to this snake.


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