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Banded water snake

A banded water snake
Tom Spinker
A banded water snake

N. fasciata is natively found from Indiana, south to Louisiana, and east to Florida. Adults of the banded water snake measure from 24 to 42 in in total length, with a record size (in the Florida subspecies) of 62.5 in in total length.

It is typically gray, greenish-gray, or brown in color, with dark crossbanding. Many specimens are so dark in color that their patterning is barely discernible. The ventrum (belly) is typically an off-white to white. They have flat heads, and are fairly heavy-bodied. Banded water snakes may also be identified by a dark stripe which extends from the eye to the angle of the jaw. If irritated, they release a foul-smelling musk to deter predators.

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Rudy Mancke served as naturalist and co-host of South Carolina ETV's <i>NatureScene</i>, which began its long run in 1978. His field trips, broadcast nationwide, earned him a legion of dedicated viewers. Rudy's knowledge of the complex inner-workings of different ecosystems and his great admiration for the natural world make him the perfect guide. In fact, the National Wildlife Federation and the Garden Club of America honored his commitment to resource conservation with special awards. After retiring from SCETV, Rudy went on to become naturalist-in-residence at the University of South Carolina, Columbia. He hosted SC Public Radio's <i>NatureNotes</i> from 1999 until his death in 2023 at age 78.