Southestern United States. Range extends west to Texas, east to the Atlantic Ocean, south through Florida, and north into southern Illinois & Indiana.
Mostly aquatic. Found in the water on the edges of swamps, wetlands, ditches, marshes, and streams, terrestrial for nesting & hibernation.
Adult length ranges from 31 to 81 inches. Heavy-bodied, glossy black color on dorsal side. Underbelly has red or pink checkerboard pattern on a black background. Occasionally have yellow coloration on the head &/or red markings on the sides of the body. Possesses a spine-like scale at tip of the tail.
Learn more with Schechter Natural History's Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians