NOTE: The Carolina Swamp Snake is sometimes referred to as the Black Swamp Snake or by the more general term, Swamp Snake.
Description: The Carolina swamp snake is a small, shiny black snake with a bright red or reddish-orange belly. It has smooth scales and its head is not much wider than its neck.
Feeding/Diet: Carolina swamp snakes eat a variety of aquatic prey, including leeches, small fish, tadpoles, and salamander larvae. They are active feeders during day and night.
Habitat/Range: Carolina swamp snakes are perhaps the most aquatic snake in North Carolina and are found in cypress ponds, swamps, Carolina bays, and other shallow water bodies with dense aquatic vegetation. These snakes are very secretive and rarely, if ever, bask in the sun. If they do leave the water, it is usually at night during heavy rains.
Reproduction: They give birth to 2–13 young between August and October, and the babies look like miniatures of the adults. Carolina swamp snakes feed during pregnancy and directly transfer the energy gained into their offspring, a process called income breeding.
Miscellaneous: When captured, they may release musk from glands at the base of the tail, but they rarely bite in defense. Although these snakes can be very abundant in some habitats, they are rarely seen because of their secretive habits. Very little is known about this shy little snake, especially in North Carolina where no ecological studies have been conducted. Despite being primarily aquatic snakes, they have proved to be able to to survive multi-year droughts by aestivating in dry wetlands.