There are definitely water moccasins in central NC -- the good news is, they stick close to water. They're not going to be under a mounting block. Central NC is the westernmost part of the range of the Eastern Cottonmouth. They are dangerous because they don't tend to move out of the way, but at least they do give warnings, by tail vibration and opening its mouth. Trying to ID a Cottonmouth by coloration is not a reliable way to do it. Too many other snakes look like it.
There are at least a couple of water snakes that are almost dead ringers for Copperheads. The hourglass pattern of Copperheads tends to be broken over the back, and they have vertical pupils.
P.S. We have so many snakes on our place I'm not sure they could really surprise me anymore. My horse almost grabbed a black snake in his stall that he thought was a lead rope, lol.
Our land is bordered by a stream but I have not seen a Cottonmouth, for which I am grateful. *Those* things scare me, because they don't move out of the way, and if you step on one... We have mink and snappers, yellow-bellied sliders, beavers, wood ducks, and lots of water snakes, but not Cottonmouths. I think our stream moves too quickly for their liking.
My husband grew up in Wake County and there were Cottonmouths in his grandfather's pond. They would throw their heads back and open their mouths when lights were shone on them.
I cannot imagine living with posionous snakes that do not rattle a warning. Rattlesnakes are the only dangerous ones here South of Denver, and they are mostly near rock outcrops or cracked ground (bad clay) because they like dens. I have never seen one on either property I have owned, one on a hill top and currently by stream, in 30 years. I have lost the caution I had in the coastal Calif. mountains growing up - lots of rattlers there.
Snakes that swim would scare the crap out of me ( Lonesome Dove, aaagh!!).
We do have harmless grass snakes in summer, occasional bull snake, but Front Range of Colo is a pretty good place to live if you hate snakes. No huge spiders, fire ants, killer bees either.
Don't get too careless about the Cottonmouth just because you are some distance from water.
My house is about 100 yards up-hill from the pond and in a normal year I'll kill at least one Cottonmouth in the shrubbery around the house. Three was the record setting year, but there have also been a couple of years when I didn't see one in the yard. Still, they will leave the immediate vicinity of water.
Rattlers now, we wouldn't know how to act if the dogs didn't find several per year for our amusement. Elevating the dog's water bowl seems to help keep the rattlers away. I think they will use it to drink out of if they can reach it.
okay....we've got the horses in Fuquay. I live in N. Raleigh....I've seen a couple black snakes near the Springmoor Retirement Center...we actually found one in the church lawn one night...didn't quite know what to make of that church after finding a serpent in their lawn.
Mike...yeah, I am alert at all times this time of year. I no longer hike the paths near the streams, I stay up on the mowed paths around the hayfields.
OMG, Plumcreek just reminded me of another snake story from last fall.
It was about 50 degrees outside, so I was down by the creek, feeling pretty comfortable about "no snakes"...the dogs were running about, when I heard..PLOP. I thought "what the heck is that?" Then figured it was a turtle or something....look over to see a black snake (not a moccassin...too long and slender) swimming downstream. I quickly exited the scene. I later thought..poor thing, he had to jump into freezing water to make an exit...I'm sure he was more miserable than we were. But who would have thought that a snake would be out on a damp, cloudy 50 degree day.
Can't resist chiming in on the first snake thread of the year!!
We have copperheads, black, garter, hognoses and alledgedly rattlers and seen one red/yellow striped one here. Copperheads have bit me,dog & horse in past years. I HATE copperheads & love my blacks & ratsnakes(except when they eat my chickens & blue birds!) so.....
I say we all move to Hawaii! No snakes there. I lived there and I love mongooses! Need one here!!
JSwan's comment about the Hog Nose snake reminded me of a hilarious snake story. The house I grew up in was in the woods, as was the barn (my poor parents had to clear land for the paddocks). We had a ton of snakes - in fact, when the house was being built, I had my first encounter....I stepped on what I thought was green stick on the gravel drive, turned out to be a snake. It protested mightily, and I hauled my little 12-yr-old self up the rest of the driveway faster than an Olympic sprinter....
Several years later, I went down the barn one night to feed, and was happily pottering about dumping grain into buckets and setting out hay. The barn is U-shaped - 4 stalls with a tack room across the back, and an open hay loft above the stalls. I happened to glance up and saw, to my absolute horror, a huge snake hanging from the loft over the aisle. It was like nothing I'd ever seen before and I knew that we had copperheads in the woods. Terrified, I ran shrieking up to the house and my parents both came down to help.
Now, Mom is a Pony Club Mom and can handle pretty much anything, but Dad, bless his heart, is a check-writer. So here's my mother, standing in the doorway of the barn, telling me to get the horses out of their stalls, they can finish their grain later, while Dad is...wait for it...standing there, in his pressed khakis and penny loafers, holding up a garden rake under the snake, yelling at me to hurry.
After getting the horses out, we actually called our equine vet and described the snake. When she stopped laughing and said, "That's a Hog Nose snake...you want him in your barn!" Um, I don't think so. I'll confess that from then on I always looked up periodically when I was in the barn.
We had one last year who burrowed into the border of my north field. Big sucker, for a HNS. He did his cobra impression for DH when he got too close with the lawnmower!
You're more than welcome to come visit him (if he's still there this year). We'll lock up the gators and sharks while you're here.
Yeah - the gator thing creeps me out. My sister said something about them being in canals of the Dismal Swamp, too. (NC).
Haven't been back since.
Good way to make sure I don't visit.... just live near water. Shh Shhh Shhh shhharrrrrkkkkk!
Hard to believe I went sea kayaking right into a lagoon used as a shark nursery. (Virgin Islands). I had NO idea until the guide said - oh look at all the sharks. I almost soiled myself.
But I would very much love to see a photo of your hog nose snake. I love snakes. Most of the time - one summer I was hanging stall fans onto the shiny black grills in my new barn and said oh hello - what are you doing here? The small black snake, a few inches from my big nose said the same thing.
One of these days I'm going to write a book about my animal encounters and it will be titled, "What are you doing here?" Pigs in pools, chasing coons with German Shepherds, bears in my orchard, sharks, snakes... it's a rich tapestry.
lovemyoldguy - great snake story! I'm so jealous you have a Hog Nose snake - but admit I'd be looking up too. Just in case.