Glossy Swampsnake

Liodytes rigida (State Status: S3; vulnerable)


Liodytes rigida is a small, harmless, aquatic species of snake that usually grows to about 2 feet in length. They can be found in south Mississippi slow-flowing water, bogs, swamps, and ditches. Two subspecies are recognized in MS. The Delta Swampsnake can be found in the Mississippi River delta plain, and the Gulf Swampsnake further east in coastal and near-coastal habitats. Swampsnakes are olive or brown, with a yellow belly with two distinct rows of dark markings. The scales are keeled, but give off a shiny or glossy appearance. Crayfish snakes are found almost exclusively in or near water, and are often seen on roads crossing between wetlands. Highly aquatic and active nocturnal hunters. They eat almost exclusively freshly-shed crayfish, frogs, fish, and other invertebrates.

Individual from a flooded piney wetland in summer, South Mississippi

Identifying Traits

  • Stout body with large eyes
  • Yellow belly with two rows of distinct dark markings
  • Olive to brown and with glossy keeled scales

Subspecies Present:

Delta Swampsnake (Liodytes rigida deltae)

​Gulf Swampsnake (Liodytes rigida sinicola)


Bogs, swamps, ditches, lowland wetlands



Highly aquatic, rarely seen far away from water bodies


Crayfish, invertebrates, frogs, fish

Ventral pattern of Glossy Swampsnake (from hybrid area of subspecies ranges), South Mississippi