Nerodia erythrogaster erythrogaster, the Redbelly watersnake, photographed in Lowndes county, Georgia (28 March 2012).
Originally, I planned to write up a big “Life Over The Hill” introspective post in celebration of my birthday, but, well, life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans. And the lifespan of Dust Tracks is smack-dab in the middle of a watersnake marathon right now. Who am I to stand in the way of Nerodia progress? So, with that in mind, let’s check out this lovely Redbelly watersnake (Nerodia erythrogaster erythrogaster) photographed on the Valdosta State University campus in Lowndes county, Georgia.
My home turf is in Volusia county, Florida, on the north-central Atlantic coast of Florida. That’s where I (mostly) grew up and where I currently live. We have a good number of non-venomous Nerodia watersnakes in our area, but the Redbelly isn’t one of them. Truly, having access to Redbellies was one of my favorite parts of living in Valdosta, Georgia from 2011 through 2013. It’s one of the southeastern Nerodia species I simply didn’t have much experience with, and they weren’t really rare in Lowndes county.
Most of the Redbellies I’ve seen along the Gulf-side of Florida and in southern Georgia have been significantly smaller than the typical Browns, Florida greens, and Florida bandeds I’ve come across over the years in Florida. They apparently can average upwards from three to four feet in length, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen any above three and a half, if even that.
This individual was caught and photographed in a small creek on the Valdosta State campus. The creek was one of my favorite haunts on campus; it served as home to a number of Redbelly and Banded watersnakes, as well as the random Southern black racer and Gray rat snake. More than once, I had to mentally check myself to not go diving after a snake into the creek just before class… Heh.
Note: This image has been touched up a bit more than usual. Colors were somewhat enhanced, and I also played a bit with blurring the borders. I had fun with this one!