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Atlantic salt marsh snakes (Nerodia clarkii taeniata) are lithe reptiles of taxonomic family Colubridae. They are a subspecies of the salt marsh snake (Nerodia clarkii). Atlantic salt marsh snakes hail from both the United States and Cuba. Within the United States, they are prevalent in states such as Texas and Florida.
Atlantic salt marsh snakes, when mature, typically get to approximately 2 feet long. The coloration on the upper portions of their bodies is light yellowish-green, grayish-beige, brown or reddish-brown. These aquatic snakes' physiques are covered with deep brown banding. The lower portions of Atlantic salt marsh snakes' bodies are black with yellow blotting.
Some typical living environments for Atlantic salt marsh snakes are mangrove swamps, canals and salt marshes. They gravitate toward coastal settings and are often seen in habitats full of grasses from the Spartina and Salicornia genera. Atlantic salt marsh snakes also are often abundant in landscapes with lots of burrows established by creatures such as calling crabs, muskrats and crayfish. They occasionally retreat to shore locations, where they lie low below logs and stones.
Atlantic salt marsh snakes are classified as being a federally threatened group. The population of these reptiles is thought to be going down for many reasons, most of which are related to problems with their habitat. These factors include pollution, oil spillage and use of insecticides -- all of which can be perilous to them. Immoderate drainage is also seriously problematic for the subspecies.
The reproductive patterns of Atlantic salt marsh snakes are, for the most part, shrouded in mystery. However, these snakes are believed to be live-bearing creatures rather than egg-layers. Birthing generally occurs in the heart of the summer months but can sometimes occur up into the beginning of the autumn. The mothers typically give birth to between two and 14 youngsters at a time. They are capable of reproducing with banded water snakes (Nerodia fasciata).
When mealtimes roll around, Atlantic salt marsh snakes typically opt to dine on things such as shrimp, crab and tiny fishes. Tiny fishes make up the bulk of their menu. They retrieve these fishes in shallow water.
- U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: Atlantic Salt Marsh Snake
- Florida Museum of Natural History: Atlantic Salt Marsh Snake
- Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce: Nerodia clarkii
- Florida Wildlife Conservation Guide: Atlantic Salt Marsh Snake
- Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission: Atlantic Salt Marsh Snake
- IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Nerodia clarkii (Atlantic Saltmarsh Snake)
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