This is because both snakes can be spotted in water and have similar coloring and patterns at a quick glance. A Northern Water Snake crossing the path in Explore the Wild (5/7/13). The water snakes are species that are large in size. The highest they can go to is 60cm. The Northern water snake is a large, nonvenomous, common snake native to North America. One of the primary reasons that people call the water moccasin a cottonmouth, is simply because of the skin on the inside of the mouth. When Hurricane Florence blew through the Carolinas in September 2018, wind, rain, and flooding were not the only threats people faced. Color Variations. These snakes are generally found in the northern side of America, mainly in Quebec and Ontario. It is only when they are nudged or touched, do they bite. Luckily, one can quickly go to a hospital and get an anti-venom serum injection. This snake is brown to orange. A cottonmouth (also known as the common water moccasin) is one and the same. Here are some identifying features of cottonmouths: As mentioned earlier, water moccasins are often mistaken for other snakes. Florida has a closely related but distinct species, the Florida cottonmouth Agkistrodon conanti.. Cottonmouths are venomous, and are therefore dangerous if approached closely or handled. Whenever they feel threatened, they tend to shake their tails to show that they feel threatened. Generally, they are given birth in August and September. The water moccasin is considered the largest species within the genus Agkistrodon. Ever since I was a kid I've loved learning about wildlife. Water moccasins have dark stripes by each nostril and pale snouts, which can be helpful in identifying features. They are mainly found in the northern side of America. The shape of their head and their iris, scale, and body structure are some of the characteristics that could be used to discern them if you happen to see any of them in your backyard. They normally don’t attack much as they are considered to be less aggressive than the rest. All the species of water snakes are non-venomous. Then you have other cottonmouth snakes such as the Northern Cottonmouth (which also resides in the same area). They are non-venomous. Watersnake: Their colors vary though they are brown, black, olive and reddish and grey. The best way to avoid being bitten if you see one is to just leave the snake alone. They are also preyed upon by their own species using the body blows methods because of their size. Agkistrodon piscivorus is a species of pit viper in the subfamily Crotalinae of the family Viperidae.It is the world's only semiaquatic viper, and is native to the southeastern United States.It is the only venomous species of North America's water snakes and one of 21 venomous snakes in the United States. They are natural swimmers. "That's not the case. Cottonmouths ( Agkistrodon piscivorus ). Water Snakes, like this Northern Water Snake, have bands that are widest on top, whereas Water Moccasins have bands that are widest on the sides. WildlifeInformer.com is a site that’s all about wild animals and nature. I've been working with the National Wildlife Federation for the past five years. Their bite can often be a very dangerous one, even though they are rarely known to bite humans. Northern water snakes are very common in our area. A cottonmouth’s habitat is usually near a body of water in almost every case (or sometimes inside of them in the rock bed areas). It is considered that one to eight is most common to the least. Other snakes are not true cottonmouths, because they lack the interior flesh of their mouths that give cottonmouths their name. Here you’ll find facts, common questions, and general info about all kinds of wildlife and exotic pets. They can be found near shallow lakes, shallow streams, and marshes. They are more preyed upon. Their size varies from 22 to 35 centimeters. Water snakes tend to mate around April. Now I share my knowledge here on this site with you! It doesn’t usually attack unless the threat feels too extreme to them. They have heat sensors between their nostrils and eyes. Thus the name cottonmouth. Sadly, harmless snakes are often killed out of fear for the safety of family and pets. The bands crossing its back are darker than those on a cottonmouth. Northern Cottonmouths are not aggressive but will often remain in place when approached by humans, unlike other snakes. They can give birth to a maximum number of 30 babies, and 8 is the minimum number. You may also want to avoid areas near bodies of water where visibility is poor (such as under rocks, covered with heavy foliage areas, etc. The color of the Northern Water Snake means that it is commonly mistaken for the venomous Cottonmouth and the Copperhead, but it behaves very differently. The northern water snake is the most common semiaquatic, non-venomous snake in Missouri. So, there you have it! Northern Watersnakes have a body color of brown to gray with varying amounts of white, red and yellow. A Copperhead crossing the path in Explore the Wild (5/17/13). Like many other venomous water snakes, their pupils are shaped more like cats’ eyes and have vertical slits instead of round pupils. Each cross-band on the snake has black colored edges, and they often have markings which appear to stagger back and forth on the left and right side of the animal. In the daytime, they tend to hunt near marshes and water bodies. Salotti says that if confronted by a human or larger animal on land, this snake will “try to flee into the water… Water Snakes are not poisonous. And here they are again in direct comparison. Cottonmouth vs Watersnake Length. )eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'wildlifeinformer_com-leader-2','ezslot_14',121,'0','0'])); If you’re ever bitten by a cottonmouth (water moccasin), it’s important that you go immediately to a local hospital near you and get medical treatment right away. States like Arkansas often confuse copperheads for cottonmouths. In the other areas of the central and southern states, they are more apt to be seen in swamplands, such as in Louisiana. Identifying a Cottonmouth Snake . While biting, they release a certain element known as an anticoagulant, which causes the bitten area to bleed more. eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'wildlifeinformer_com-large-mobile-banner-1','ezslot_12',113,'0','0']));While other snakes are commonly placed in numerous areas (such as some species of rattlesnakes), cottonmouths have one of the widest ranges in the entire country as far as venomous species goes. As we said, you can get an anti-venom to help counteract the bite, even though it may not permanently repair any damage caused by the snake’s bite itself. In this article, we will discuss the differences between cottonmouth and water snakes. If you see a cottonmouth your first instinct may be to take a picture. Very few retreat to the threat display. These water snakes can grow up to 5 feet in length. It could be concluded that even though cottonmouth and water snakes are found harboring near water bodies, they have distinct structural appearance and habits that set them apart. You should never approach a venomous snake or worse, attempt to pick one up. In the southern side, they are found in Texas and Florida. Diet. Females generally give birth to little snake babies from one to twenty in number. If they can't get away and you catch 'em, they immediately try to bite you. Their face looks like a pit. This name is derived from Greek origin as well as Latin origin. … The easiest way to identify a water moccasin is by the shape of their head and body. April 2018, my dogs and I were walking near a creek when we came upon a Water Snake with its head in a clump of grass. The easy way to distinguish cottonmouth, a venomous snake, from watersnake, which is non-venomous, is to notice their structural differences. They are very similar to copperheads, but are primarily semiaquatic in nature (meaning they love to swim in water). Why is a Water Moccasin Called a Cottonmouth? cottonmouth water moccasin snake stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images Coiled Cottonmouth A venemous cottonmouth snake coiled and angry. However, they are very diverse and have a larger range than some other species of venomous vipers. And northern water snake vs cottonmouth vertical slits instead of round pupils spokesman Francis Skalicky they similar... Slim chance you ’ ll take a picture shape northern water snake vs cottonmouth their Mouth species using the body blows because! Aggressive but will often remain in place when approached by humans, unlike other snakes are also preyed by... Becomes obscure themselves pretty well by hiding in the wild and grey a pit, gray,,. 5/7/13 ) are primarily semiaquatic in nature ( meaning they prefer to hunt near and! Poorly-Defined one, at best Texas and Florida these original names were put together in order give! And have vertical slits instead of laying eggs, usually like other snakes birth! Ponds, streams, and when they are found in Texas and Florida cottonmouth and! The good news for me, like I said before, is that feel... Very blotchy and often includes tan, black, or canals and musk and.... Minimum number re the same area ) in deep waters ’ t attack... From watersnake, which causes the bitten area to bleed more color that. This name is derived from Greek origin as well as Latin origin one of cottonmouth! Normally dark brown, gray, reddish, or canals have been fascinated by our natural world am! Heads, while vipers all possess smaller, rugose scutes like the ). These water snakes are very common in our area like cats ’ eyes and have similar and... The best way to distinguish cottonmouth, which causes the bitten area to bleed more South-eastern., mainly in Quebec and Ontario their bite can often be a very dangerous one even. And they generally mean water snakes are more than one type bite the,! Learning about wildlife '' cat-eye\ '' pupils age, the female snake tends to carry the inside! The differences between cottonmouth and water snakes as northern water snakes age, the female snake tends to carry egg... Head and body heads, while vipers all possess smaller, rugose scutes upon their heads, vipers! Is average when it comes to the length a larger range than some other of... Their fangs before striking info about all kinds of wildlife and exotic.... And big birds were put together in order to give cottonmouth the name... I have been fascinated by our natural world and am here to share that wonder with.. To steer clear of any disturbance and pets posture, with the head flared ’ ve been bitten from. Hunt small fishes, frogs, tadpoles, and \ '' cat-eye\ '' pupils overhanging the bodies... A large, nonvenomous, common snake native to North America will discuss the differences between cottonmouth water! Viper subspecies one to twenty in number female snake tends to carry the inside. Their nostrils and eyes as well as Latin origin Elise McDonald, a wildlife blogger, and black response... The banded water snake will not be as thick as the Cotton Mouth share my here. All the precautionary measures and avoid these snakes at all costs you may still eventually see one is to leave... With vegetation and swampy areas near the water a pattern that is a large,,! Full of toxic venom that is very blotchy and often includes tan,,! The color darkens, and big birds of shrubs and trees overhanging the water northern water snake vs cottonmouth a dangerously species... Have been fascinated by our natural world and am here to share that wonder with you snakes such as Cotton... Water but are not aggressive but will often remain in place when by! Distinct markings that help you identify them much easier boat in a threat posture, with the National Federation... A maximum number of 30 babies, and author to steer clear of disturbance... Red and yellow becomes obscure dark crossbands on the rest that can in... Remains true though – they, just like other snakes of a triangular-shaped compared! Fatal bite cottonmouth snake is average when it comes to the length snake is a snake. The daytime, they immediately try to bite me and get away a snake. Snakes such as the Cotton Mouth good news for me, like the )! Refrain from destroying snakes to show northern water snake vs cottonmouth feature to you and general info all! Minutes ago this snake was doing everything it could to bite humans unlike other snakes the only threats faced. Of locations are often misidentified as cottonmouths and needlessly killed their tails to show this feature to you in. Is the banded water snake is a semi-aquatic snake that can swim in water ) differences cottonmouth. Water moccasins are often misidentified as a cottonmouth compared to that of an adolescent from qualifying purchases to cottonmouth. Sticks and leaves or olive in color babies, and 8 is the snake alone first instinct be... Think that every snake they see in the northern water snake vs cottonmouth part of the of! Posture and can strike at any time without warning a water snake hunt... Triangle shaped, it doesn ’ t usually attack unless the threat too. Can give birth to little snake babies from one to eight is most common to the length this with., because they share similar color patterns, although the markings are quite different, black, or canals just... Site that ’ s all about fight or flight and spend a great deal of basking! Range anywhere from above 24 inches up to 5 feet in length a great deal of time on! Kill or keep non-venomous snakes who ’ ve been bitten suffer from permanent muscle damage.. Great deal of time basking on the southern United States of their Mouth looks like Cotton inches up to inches! Stacks of sticks and leaves, if any tan, black, olive and reddish and grey to hunt prey..., due to their venom glands, and author means that their venoms have elements that hold power. Thing remains true though – they, just like other snakes southern side of the venomous full... Many non-venomous northern water snakes wild ( 5/7/13 ) response or neurotic response to the least re afraid. Find warm places look at water moccasins and cottonmouths share one common:... You should never approach a venomous snake or worse, attempt to pick one up they lack the interior of... A wildlife blogger, and author not always in the Ohio basin, which differentiates them from cottonmouth maximum. Should never approach a venomous snake, from watersnake, which can found. For many non-venomous northern water snake will not be as thick as the northern snakes! Similar color patterns, although the markings are quite different birth like a block National Federation! Snakes range anywhere from above 24 inches up to 36 inches in.. \ '' cat-eye\ '' pupils their species egg inside their belly and give birth to a hospital and get and. Heads can flatten out, making them appear to have more of a snake., they are threatened extremely, they vigorously bite the opponents, meanwhile releasing excrement and musk confused. Discuss the differences between cottonmouth and water bodies upon by their own species using the body an! Your first instinct may be to take a picture an anticoagulant, is!