Size The average size of adults is 50cm (maximum 90 cm).
Description This snake is slender with a small and indistinct head. The body is normally an olive brown to dark brown above and a pearly orange to yellowish colour below. The eye has a round pupil. This snake is always associated with water, e.g. streams, vleis and marshes. It is frequently found in the water or under water.
Biology This snake prefers an aquatic diet of frogs, tadpoles and occasionally fish although they are known to take lizards too. It is an expert swimmer and hunts very capably underwater. It will also dive underwater to escape threats and remain under for several minutes. It may even shelter under rocks in flowing streams which may indicate that it is able to extract some oxygen from the water possibly through the skin.
Distribution Restricted to areas with permanent water and hence occurs primarily in the wetter coastal and eastern parts of South Africa.
Distribution in GCBC Probably occurs along permanent rivers in streams in the corridor.
Conservation Status Not listed. The brown water snake is protected under the Western Cape Nature Conservation Act as a protected species (Appendix II).
Threats Habitat destruction is a concern in some parts of this species range where wetlands are transformed by development.
Current studies None.