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water snake (moccasin?) in pond

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  • #21
    Originally posted by crosscreeksh View Post
    For identification purposes...Water moccacins/Cotton mouths are the ONLY snake that swims ON TOP of the water...not just with their head out.
    This is laughably UNTRUE. Where did you get this "expert" information from? We've spent a lot of time on our local waterways, & almost always come across common types of watersnakes. . . . swimming ON TOP of the water! All. the. time. And guess what? They're not Cottonmouths. Just plain old watersnakes. So much for your expert information.

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    • #22
      And apparently there is not enough bacardi in the liquor cabinet to take the edge off...

      Seriously.

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      • #23
        Originally posted by pAin't_Misbehavin' View Post
        He said it was the worst bite he'd ever had (this same guy gets bitten by copperheads fairly regularly and says cottonmouth bites are an order of magnitude more painful).
        Sorry, but I have to ask... Just what does your friend do to "fairly regularly" get bitten by copperheads? Serious question because I think I'd be changing my behavior. I saw this thing: http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c1...ps1aaf9176.jpg the first year I moved to my house. Pretty snake but I keep an eye out now. I don't want to be bitten. I hear it hurts like a b@stard.
        "Dogs are man's best friend. Cats are man's adorable little serial killer." -- theoatmeal.com

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        • #24
          Originally posted by wildlifer View Post
          Sigh. Sorry, this is not true either. All water-dwelling snakes can dive or change their buoyancy.

          It is true that bites from juvenile snakes can inject more venom than those from adults -- young animals tend to be more reactive and release all their venom at once, where as "wiser" adults will "save" their venom for prey and only give a dry bite or a small amount of venom in a defensive strike, as it is energetically expensive to produce more. This is most common in copperheads.
          Thank you, wildlifer, for an appropriately composed post that corrects the incorrect information in a considerate and informative fashion.

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          • #25
            Originally posted by alabama View Post
            Sorry, but I have to ask... Just what does your friend do to "fairly regularly" get bitten by copperheads? Serious question because I think I'd be changing my behavior. I saw this thing: http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c1...ps1aaf9176.jpg the first year I moved to my house. Pretty snake but I keep an eye out now. I don't want to be bitten. I hear it hurts like a b@stard.
            I need to get back to chores but couldn't resist - church?? LOL

            I do know folks who work in jobs that have nothing to do with wildlife but seem to regularly put them in contact with various critters - i.e. a lineman contracted by power company

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            • #26
              Wow, what a beautiful copperhead! They are one of my top three favourite snakes, just mind-bogglingly gorgeous. All the individuals I have encountered though were soooo shy, I didn't get to look at them very long. Another one I don't hug, though --- but you bet I jump out of the truck and take 500 pictures from a safe distance, hee!

              I have no idea how someone would "regularly" get bitten by a copperhead unless they use one as the softball in their town bar league or were just heinously oblivious to their surroundings or learning? My BFF's adult son has been bitten once, on the pinky finger. It did make him very sick and the venom dissolved the cartilage in the last finger joint, so it is fused now, but he is otherwise fine (snake breeder and lover, got a not so great idea when he was younger to have a pet copperhead. snake disagreed on its suitability.). He certainly learned that lesson quickly though, it's an experience one generally will take care not to repeat!

              And don't be too hard on Bacardi for getting a bit snarky -- they also deal with misinformation regularly and it really does feel like you are smashing your face with a brick repeatedly, so it can be tough keeping your cool. I just happened to post when I was feeling calm and it's a weekend, LOL.
              Life doesn't have perfect footing.

              Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
              We Are Flying Solo

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              • #27
                This is the Google source of my info on swimming Cotton Mouth snakes:

                If you look at the pictures above, you can see that the Water Moccasin is extremely buoyant. Most of it's body is above the surface. This is a trait of all Pit Vipers.

                Below are pictures of a Banded Water Snake swimming along a bank. Notice that its body is mostly submerged with only an occasional coil breaking the surface. This is typical of all non-venomous snakes in the coastal plains. Also note how much more slender the water snake is than the Water Moccasin. This snake is of similar length to the Moccasin in the pictures above
                www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
                Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma

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                • #28
                  Oops, ya forgot to add the link up there.

                  I am aware that that information is posted in multiple places, including some that make me embarrassed for them as they should know better. It's an oft-repeated piece that you can certainly observe, but is by no means a rule. I've certainly met more than one cottonmouth and more than one banded water snake who apparently failed to read that particular memo.

                  It's hard enough to educate the public about wildlife, it just makes it harder when websites that seem informed host incorrect information, unfortunately.
                  Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                  Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                  We Are Flying Solo

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                  • #29
                    Like you said wildlifer - we're just smashing our faces with a brick repeatedly.

                    Unfortunately there will always be certain people who would rather continue believing that they are "right", rather than become better educated on a subject. Even more unfortunate is when those subjects have to do with innocent wildlife.

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                    • #30
                      Originally posted by Bacardi1 View Post
                      Like you said wildlifer - we're just smashing our faces with a brick repeatedly.

                      Unfortunately there will always be certain people who would rather continue believing that they are "right", rather than become better educated on a subject. Even more unfortunate is when those subjects have to do with innocent wildlife.
                      *********

                      You know...there is really no "polite" reason to be so darn snarky. It might piss people off!!
                      www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
                      Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma

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                      • #31
                        Originally posted by wildlifer View Post

                        And don't be too hard on Bacardi for getting a bit snarky -- they also deal with misinformation regularly and it really does feel like you are smashing your face with a brick repeatedly, so it can be tough keeping your cool. I just happened to post when I was feeling calm and it's a weekend, LOL.
                        ^^^Thank you! I have not replied in this thread because I'm sure I would have come across as snarky too. Thank you wildlifer, for diplomatically addressing the concerns and issues brought forth by this thread. I am also a card-carrying member of the "face-to-brick" camp. Every day I see, hear or otherwise put up with people who are just plain unreasonable about snakes. Every single snake is presumed venomous and going to eat their children and pets, even the little bitty ringnecks! And every snake in the water is a moccasin...as per the lawn guy or the gardener, he is from (insert foreign country name here) so "he knows his snakes!"...so I request photos. So far no venomous! Imagine that!

                        I hope that your message is sinking in, and that you will have saved the lives of at least a few snakes with your calming words and advice. I really wanted to say what you said but my mind just couldn't find the happy place. Thanks again for standing up for the slithery ones.

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                        • #32
                          Wildlifer, I love your posts. When we lived in Southern AZ we didn't really want the rattlesnakes in our yard, so we made a snake lasso out of a looong pvc pipe with the end padded all nice and soft and a rope threaded through. Lassoed the snakies, put in trash can for the drive across the river to be released on state land.
                          Of course, anyone who's been to Southern AZ knows the rivers aren't all that big, so maybe I was just transporting the same snake over and over again.

                          Now, in SoCal, we have a lovely king snake in our yard. I would love to have more king snakes and gopher snakes on our property, but so far the neighbors all want to keep theirs. We figure they might keep the rattlesnakes away, not to mention the gophers.

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                          • #33
                            Wildlifer, your posts are a joy to read. Thank you for helping correct misinformation. While I am not a fan of venomous snakes being near me, they do serve a purpose in their habitat. Reading the blatantly wrong information people have learned and live by is a bit off-putting.

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                            • #34
                              Ooo, Rose, LOVE the rattler lasso, that is awesome! What lucky snakies (or snake, ROFL!).

                              Kingsnakes do indeed eat plenty of venomous species, so a great neighbour to have. Not to mention they are quite beautiful.

                              Urban myths have a strange persistence. In fact, here (and I have no idea how this even circulates or how one would come with such an idea!) it is a startlingly commonly held belief that our agency stocks rattlesnakes across the state by dropping them from helicopters. I wonder, do we give them tiny parachutes? And how would the harness stay on something with no shoulders? And where ARE our mysterious snake choppers, because I could REALLY use one to get into some river reaches I can't drive to. *baffled*
                              Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                              Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                              We Are Flying Solo

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                              • #35
                                Snake lover here as well. I do remember being told that as a general rule, snakes that are predominantly water dwelling tend to be a little on the aggressive side and the venomous cottonmouths are no exception. I've had enough experience with the northern banded water snakes to know they are quite aggressive, but harmless. I also believe I've been told that cottonmouths tend to swim with their heads above water, perhaps not always but I've wondered if this story was true and could be used to identify them swimming. Wildlifer? An interesting side note to the coral snake. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association a very long time ago identified the typical bite victim for this reclusive snake. White, male, age 18-30, with a blood alcohol level usually above 0.08. ( Probably shouting "Watch this!") : )

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                                • #36
                                  Our barn in Houston has lovely rat snakes and those we protect as much as possible. They are critical to keeping the rat population in check and they really are nice, shy snakes.
                                  WIldlifer- I believe you about coral snakes but in the few times (maybe 4) that I have dealt with corals they were all extremely aggressive and I don't care how little those fangs are I want nothing to do with them. Of the 4 we did not kill any of them instead we retreated (2 actually chased us) and marked the area for the ranger to decide what to do with them. (Girl scout camp)
                                  Now living in soCal I have had to deal with rattlers nearly every day. We are doing a road construction project so disturbing them regularly. They have all been shy and more than willing to rattle but not strike. Most of them we are seeing are in the 1-2ft range TOPS. I thought they would be a lot more aggressive but so far so good.
                                  Copperheads - Oi Vey! Aggressive when pushed but more than willing to let you retreat. They will strike and dry bite if given the chance. Most specimens I have seen are in the 1ft range and I have been dry bitten by one of them when I stepped right on it. (seriously did not see it.) They are gorgeous though!
                                  King Snakes- gorgeous, awesome snakes that are very shy and do their job well. Current barn here in Cali has one that sleeps on the hay bales and has been there for years. Perfectly content to leave you alone if you leave it alone.
                                  Adoring fan of A Fine Romance
                                  Originally Posted by alicen:
                                  What serious breeder would think that a horse at that performance level is push button? Even so, that's still a lot of buttons to push.

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                                  • #37
                                    Dangit, you people are making me lust for a kingsnake, LOL! My life feels incomplete now.

                                    Leila, 4 coral snakes makes you very lucky indeed (although you may not have thought so, ha) -- I know folks who have quested to see one for years! As riderboy mentioned, the only people I have ever read who have been "successfully" bitten by one have been extremely stupid people, generally drunk ones who seriously do things like play catch with snakes. No, I have no idea why that would even seem like a good drunk idea, but maybe they are the same ones who keep an eye out for our choppers?
                                    Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                                    Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                                    We Are Flying Solo

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #38
                                      Originally posted by 2Jakes View Post
                                      Every day I see, hear or otherwise put up with people who are just plain unreasonable about snakes. Every single snake is presumed venomous and going to eat their children and pets, even the little bitty ringnecks!
                                      In my own defense (and perhaps others), I was raised by a father who has a severe snake phobia (he was raised as a kid in the jungles of Colombia routinely encountering some very dangerous snakes), and healthy or not it rubbed off on me. I realize they're not all dangerous, but when you grow up with your father freaking out over small garden snakes, you tend to over react.

                                      It goes back to being afraid of the unknown. Snakes scare me to death because I have no idea how to ID every poisonous kind (it's different seeing one in person and being able to recognize them routinely vs. just knowing what they look like from a book) and how "dangerous" they are. My fear was if a moccasin bites my horse (or me!) do I have time to get to a vet or a hospital? Because with some species you don't really. I just moved here and am still just learning what snakes are around, let alone their habitats, behaviors, warning signs, how "dangerous" they are, and that is what scares me.


                                      Originally posted by riderboy View Post
                                      A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association a very long time ago identified the typical bite victim for this reclusive snake. White, male, age 18-30, with a blood alcohol level usually above 0.08. ( Probably shouting "Watch this!") : )
                                      While hilarious, this is what I honestly need to remember for not only the snakes, but other of "dangerous" situations. It's always those who are not paying attention or taking it seriously.

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        We have a lot of those around here. They get BIG! There's a big old granddaddy one by the river where I walk my dogs. I avoid them - they will bite, even though they're not poisonous. When they are younger they have a reddish diamond pattern on their backs and as they get older they turn mostly deep brown/black.

                                        *Edit: I was replying about the Northern Watersnake post way back there. Didn't capture the quote!*
                                        I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry

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                                        • #40
                                          Originally posted by Guin View Post
                                          We have a lot of those around here. They get BIG! There's a big old granddaddy one by the river where I walk my dogs. I avoid them - they will bite, even though they're not poisonous. When they are younger they have a reddish diamond pattern on their backs and as they get older they turn mostly deep brown/black.

                                          *Edit: I was replying about the Northern Watersnake post way back there. Didn't capture the quote!*
                                          That is definitely true. One thing about Watersnakes is that they ARE aggressive biters if/when confronted. Some of them can be great bluffers as well, trying to make you think one swipe from them will kill you, which of course doesn't help their cause re: being let alone. Their dispositions aren't pleasant, but again they're not harmful.

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