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?
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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.

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