Friday, July 8, 2016

Snake Identification Challenge of the Week: Everyone Thinks They Saw a Cottonmouth. Are They Ever Right?

Not visible in the picture is the yellow tipped tail. It was in the middle of my back yard when I stepped on it. It was resting, coiled up, under a few leaves. 

I don't normally mess with snakes because I understand their importance in the ecosystem but this is the third time I have seen the same kind of snake in less than a year in my yard where my children play and the second time someone has or almost has stepped on one. We have other snakes but they all appear to be harmless varieties like black racers and common brown snakes. I have a bad feeling that it's a cotton mouth. I live in North Central Florida on the coast. My town has a canal system that is interconnected all over town. I live three blocks from the closest one. Unlike most people I hope I'm wrong about this.

Thank you so much for your time. 

Samantha W.
Florida

Hi - came across your website and hoping you can help me identify this snake.  I live in Pooler, GA, which is about 10 minutes outside of Savannah.  Our property is surrounded by trees, and there's a pond or stream at the very back of the property (although I've never dared wander back that far, so not sure - I just know that people go fishing back there).  After getting really heavy rains yesterday from trop storm Colin, we found this guy in our back yard this a.m.  We usually find at least a couple of dozen small dead frogs in our pool each morning during the spring/summer months and I'm wondering if he came looking for some late-night munchies.

Thanks so much in advance for any guidance you can provide!!

Best regards,

Lauri P.
Georgia

Hi David,

Loved your article on identifying water moccasins and copperheads.  Newbie here.  I almost stepped on this snake several days ago.  Grady County, south Georgia.  It was about 16 inches long. I would have stepped on it had my dog not approached it and then the snake raised its head, open-mouthed.  Mouth appeared white, that’s what made me think it was a cotton mouth.  Stayed open-mouthed and would not slither away as most snakes do.  Too far away to see if eyes were round or elliptical.  Note quite the thickness of the water hose near it.  

This was my first close encounter with a snake in the wild and I was kind of shell shocked worried that my dog was going to try and play with it!

Thanks in advance,

Denise S.
Georgia


Hi, came across your blog/website while trying to ID this little guy.  It was about 12" long, sitting on a brush pile next to a small stream running through a forested wetland near Auburn, AL.  It went into the brush before I could get a better pic.  I've been told there are blonde cottonmouths, and it seems the habitat would support that conclusion over copperhead.  Thoughts?  

Thanks in advance!

Chris W.
Alabama



Is this a cottonmouth, when it opened it’s mouth, it was all white.
I live in Bluffton, SC.
Thank you
Sigga C.
South Carolina

What Are These Snakes?
-----

Snake Identification Post Ground Rules

-Guesses are welcome and encouraged. Don't worry if you're not an expert, wrong guesses allow us to talk about how to distinguish between the various species and that's why I run these posts.

-If you can't explain why you think a snake is a particular species, go ahead and just say what you think it is. But otherwise please do let us all know how you identified the animal. If you're wrong, we can explain why. If you're right, this helps everyone learn how to identify snakes, which is the point of these posts.

-This is not a pop quiz, any kind of research is encouraged and I hope you will engage with other commenters to try to figure these snakes out. I will eventually chime in with my thoughts.

-Assume I know what kind of snake is in the picture. I run these posts because they are outreach opportunities. Please don't send me private e-mails with your guesses, include them below.

-Remember, the person that sent me the picture is probably reading your comments. Although it is frustrating to know that many of these snakes have been killed, these people do want to learn more about them. More snake knowledge will lead to fewer snakes being killed. Don't hate, educate.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Snake Identification Challenge of the Week: Clearing a Backlog For A Quintessential American Snake on The Fourth of July Weekend



Saw two of these together in Congaree National Park, May-2016. About 4-5 feet long, near the boardwalk. Could not identify em. Any info would be appreciated.
thanks, 


Scott F.
South Carolina



Great picture. Thought you might like it. My friend sent it to me to ID. I asked and he said it was perfectly fine for you to use in your blog. Taken in Fairhope, Alabama. 

Larry W.

Alabama







Hello, 

I'm curious as to what kind of snake this is and wonder if you can identify it.  It was seen on a dock on the Tennessee River in Huntsville, AL.  It was at least 4 feet long.  Sorry I didn't get a good image of the head.

Thanks,

James W.

Alabama



My daughter & I are in a disagreement identifying this snake. Could you please help? I say it's a rat snake and she says it's a Burmese Python! I've left him to temporarily set up residence on my property! She's panicking and thinks he's dangerous!

Sincerely,
Mike N.



Hi David,

I hope you can identify this snake for me please.  I found it today in my front drive around 1pm, CDST, just basking in the sun.  I live in Birmingham, AL, surrounded by woods.  There is the presence of some very shallow runoff of water periodically, but only temporarily.  This is only the second time in 16 years I have seen a snake on my property of about an acre.  However, there are numerous lakes in the area that are home to Water Moccasins and some Cottonmouths.  I look forward to hearing from you and thank you.

Beverly N.
Alabama

Mr Steen,

I ran across your postings while doing some research. A friend forwarded me this photo of a snake yesterday – and we’ve had some interesting conversations trying to agree on what it is.

In reading thru your posts, you really seem very knowledgeable on this topic, so I would like to ask for your help in identifying this one. We have had thoughts of copperhead or a timber rattler (but without the rattles – as I understand that they can lose them).

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

Ron S.
Kentucky

Hi,

This snake was resting  in our garden on freshly laid pine bark mulch this morning.  We are in Adamsville, AL (central Alabama) We think it might be a king snake or rat snake but aren't sure.  What is it?

Thaks,
Grace S
Alabama




Hello Dr. Steen,

I'm assuming that all the rain Missouri has been getting is disturbing the snake life around here, because I've seen several more on the farm in the last week, but only managed to get photos of 2. 

Bubba: (so named because I think he's HUGE.)  He was in the driveway and there is a stick in front of him which I later measured to be a bit longer than 6 inches, which indicates this snake is pretty large. This guy is pretty big around, too. Bigger around than any snake I've seen on the farm. I thought it was another black snake, but I can't find any photos of one with the same X pattern this one has, which is completely different than the silver bands of the Western Black Snake which you identified for me a coupla weeks ago. (I named her Claudette, btw.) Claudette has a friend, and I think they have a den under our front porch, but I have yet to get a photo of her friend. It has a lot of pink/peach on it's tummy, but no silver bands or the X pattern Bubba has. (Although the pink/peach colors are identical in shade to Bubba's.)   

Thanks again for your time,

Beth M.
Missouri



I
 live in piedmont sc, Anderson County SC.  I found a baby snake that highly resembles a python.  I've had ball pythons,  Burmese pythons and boas since I was 10. I'm aware that exotic snakes are now living & breeding in the southern states. I need help identifying this snake.  It has a good temperament.  If you could lead me in finding out the breed of this snake in would greatly appreciate it. 

HHS
South Carolina








Please identify.

Kera V.












What kind of snake?

Leanna L.












Hello Professor Steen,

I have a warehouse South of the little town, Lawrence, Michigan.  The back side of the building is rarely tended so there are vines and brush that come right up to the back door. There also is a hole at the base of the door large enough for a snake to enter.  I first thought I had a swarm of bees but as I tracked the sound I found him toasty warm under this South facing window.  I don't mind him being there, I just to want to be surprised some day and get bitten.  I think he is a black rat snake but I'm not sure.  Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Phyllis M.
Michigan




What Are These Snakes?
-----

Snake Identification Post Ground Rules

-Guesses are welcome and encouraged. Don't worry if you're not an expert, wrong guesses allow us to talk about how to distinguish between the various species and that's why I run these posts.

-If you can't explain why you think a snake is a particular species, go ahead and just say what you think it is. But otherwise please do let us all know how you identified the animal. If you're wrong, we can explain why. If you're right, this helps everyone learn how to identify snakes, which is the point of these posts.

-This is not a pop quiz, any kind of research is encouraged and I hope you will engage with other commenters to try to figure these snakes out. I will eventually chime in with my thoughts.

-Assume I know what kind of snake is in the picture. I run these posts because they are outreach opportunities. Please don't send me private e-mails with your guesses, include them below.

-Remember, the person that sent me the picture is probably reading your comments. Although it is frustrating to know that many of these snakes have been killed, these people do want to learn more about them. More snake knowledge will lead to fewer snakes being killed. Don't hate, educate.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Snake Identification Challenge of the Week: They Came From the Depths...

We have a place on Lake of the Ozarks in central Missouri (near Jefferson City).  This is a baby, part of a snake family that has lived under our boat ramp for some time.

I'm not particularly bothered, but my wife is beside herself.  And we have small children and pets around.

They do not seem to go on land, although they will spend time in drain tiles in the sea wall, on the rip rap near the shore or in a stack of logs by the water... depending how high the lake is.

I'm going to dry and get a better photo, but hopefully you can tell what we have from this.

Don M.
Missouri




I live in eastern North Carolina and someone killed this snake. Can you help me identify it.  Thanks.

Brandon
North Carolina






Hi I have this snake living in my pond I like in the Austin Texas region. It's about 4 ft long I was wondering if it is a cotton mouth I have included pic and video 

Heather D.
Texas



Hello, I was walking with my daughter near a reservoir, and we saw two of these snakes near the water. Can you help identify them? We recently moved from NYC, so we are amazed by any and all wildlife and want to educate ourselves. We saw the snakes in West Orange, NJ.


Thank you,


Pamela C.
New Jersey




What Are These Snakes?
-----

Snake Identification Post Ground Rules

-Guesses are welcome and encouraged. Don't worry if you're not an expert, wrong guesses allow us to talk about how to distinguish between the various species and that's why I run these posts.

-If you can't explain why you think a snake is a particular species, go ahead and just say what you think it is. But otherwise please do let us all know how you identified the animal. If you're wrong, we can explain why. If you're right, this helps everyone learn how to identify snakes, which is the point of these posts.

-This is not a pop quiz, any kind of research is encouraged and I hope you will engage with other commenters to try to figure these snakes out. I will eventually chime in with my thoughts.

-Assume I know what kind of snake is in the picture. I run these posts because they are outreach opportunities. Please don't send me private e-mails with your guesses, include them below.

-Remember, the person that sent me the picture is probably reading your comments. Although it is frustrating to know that many of these snakes have been killed, these people do want to learn more about them. More snake knowledge will lead to fewer snakes being killed. Don't hate, educate.