None of our other Water Snakes have such broad dark crossbands or so few. They number only 11 to 17 on body; every other Water Snake has at least 19 and normally many more than that. The dark crossbands are seperated by areas of yellow, irregular in shape and arrangement, and they frequently run together; in coloration they vary from black through brown to red brown (or combinations of these). In some parts of its range, either the yellow or red may be excetionally prominent. Scales keeled ; anal divided. Simialr species: Cottonmouth has a broad head and is a stouter, heavier snake.