Banded Watersnake (Nerodia fasciata)
One of four species of water snake in North Carolina, Banded Water Snake is common in streams and ponds of the Coastal Plain. The most common species in the rest of the state is the similar Northern Water Snake (N. sipedon). The differences are subtle, but to identify this snake as a Banded, look for the dark stripe from the eye to the corner of the jaw.
Water Snakes are non-venemous but mean-tempered and don't hesitate to bite when cornered. They're often confused with "Water Moccasins", but the Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus) has a triangular head and vertically-slitted eyes.
Scotland Co., NC 4/20/05.