Herpetofauna: One Life's List

Nerodia erythrogaster flavigaster
Yellowbelly Water Snake

Union Co., Illinois. October 1977

At right is a flavigaster, which I nabbed from my canoe on a trip through Mingo Swamp in southern Missouri, back in the mid '80s.  The snake was entwined in some buttonbush, and I was able to get a hand on it as slipped towards the water.  That was a very good trip for water snakes - we saw Yellowbellies, Midlands, Broadbands, and Diamondbacks.  I see Yellowbellies regularly down in the swamps of southern Illinois, day and night.

The one in the second photo was spotted basking near the bank  in the LaRue-Pine Hills Ecological Area of southern Illinois. Throughout their range, they are often mistaken for the venomous Cottonmouth, and needlessly killed.











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