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The brown water snake is harmless, but its bad temper, heavy body, and large flattened head make it appear dangerous. It is the largest of all the water snakes and has a maximum length of five feet. North Carolina's largest specimen measured fifty-seven inches in length. The brown water snake is very abundant along lakes and sluggish waterways of the Coastal Plain. It has a tendency to climb trees and bushes, often to a height of fifteen feet or more. The snake's food consists mostly of fishes.