Saturday, June 3, 2017

Snake Identification Challenge of The Week: Watersnakes, Copperheads or Cottonmouths?

Good morning,

This snake was seen yesterday in Sandy Springs, a northern suburb of Atlanta. Initially, I was felt certain that it was a young cottonmouth based mostly on the eye stripe, how it is holding its head, and its girth. I am aware that cottonmouths can have a greyish phase, but the banding isn't exactly what I expected and Atlanta is supposedly outside their range. Of course, a few snakes may have slithered north being ignorant of the accepted boundaries to their range. If it's not a cottonmouth, I am completely stumped. I didn't see it personally, so I have no information as to pupil shape, overall size, whether it opened its mouth, or tail color. Any help with identification would be appreciated.


Lisa S.


We believe the snake is an infant Copperhead, and we have a small dog.  Carol used a broom, to move it away from the front door area.   Any natural remedies / suggestions, to keep it away from our garden area ?   
Thanks in advance for your help !!  

Jon D.

Is this just a common Northern water snake? Thanks for the help.

Joshua S.

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.

Enjoy what you read and learn here? 

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