The yellow-bellied water snake is a brownish-black snake with a plain yellow underside. The blotched water snake is a subspecies of the yellow-bellied water snake that is gray or greenish-brown with brown blemishes and a yellow belly. Both water snakes roughly resemble the copperhead in appearance but are non-venomous.
The yellow-bellied water snake can reach up to 48 inches in length. It normally lives in placid waters of the southeastern United States, such as swamps, oxbow lakes and ponds. The yellow-bellied water snake is aggressive when cornered and is known to release a foul-smelling substance from glands at the base of its tail to discourage threats. Female water snakes give birth to live young.