Brown water snakes are diurnal and most active during the day, especially when sunny. They are skilled swimmers and divers, feeding primarily on fish and amphibians in shallow waters. Brown water snakes are non-venomous and generally not aggressive, preferring to flee from threats. However, they may flatten their heads and body as a defensive display if cornered.
Brown water snakes inhabit a variety of wetlands throughout central Florida. This includes cypress swamps, marshes, ponds, lakes, rivers, and streams. They may bask in low vegetation near the water’s edge. Brown water snakes brumate during the winter, emerging in early spring to bask and feed.