Hiking in the ravine, up to Taughannock Falls, near Cayuga Lake, NY- we were surprised by the yell of “SNAKE!” Just as surprised to see in the running ice cold waters of the river, a 1 year old or so Norther Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon). My daughter Celia quickly grabbed it, and the fuss grabbed the attention of other hikers. This was a pretty color phase, a population no doubt living in the ravine- with a bit of color selection occurring on the light gray rocks of the valley. Baby water snakes however are typically brightly colored, with the bands very evident. The bands may fade as they mature in some locales. Water snakes are a very successful North American snake genus, and I have found one species or another in most of the eastern States. A live-bearing snake, females retain the egg until the shell is absorbed, and gives birth to many live young (usually size dependent). 50 babies is not unusual. Versatile with food, from toads/frogs/salamanders/large worms, they can be found in still waters, swamps, lakes, or as we see here- swimming in a running river. I have seen large adults using¬†rainy nights to pick off frogs and toads on wet roadways. A few feet from this baby snake was a group of what I had thought were a minnow species. The baby was in the right spot! Water snakes will swim with precision, mouth agape, and swipe at fish as they go by. Enjoy the images! NG.