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How to actually identify a cottonmouth/water moccasin

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  • How to actually identify a cottonmouth/water moccasin

    I think many times, people mistake harmless water snakes for these snakes.....these are some pretty mean looking snakes.

    http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/l...356396925.html

  • #2
    Wow, great link, thanks!!

    In our area there are some non-poisonous snakes which have markings that mimic "bad snakes". I focus on the shape of the snakes head- if the head is in the shape of a human thumb then it's a "good snake". Also, good snakes tend to have round eyes. If the head shape is tri-angular (and the eyes more like slits) then I go running into the house to find Mr. SLW so he can kill it. I can run very fast....

    Comment


    • #3
      I didn't really want to even look but had to. I had to kill a 3' long mocc at a patient's home last week. I'm a home health nurse & when I was leaving thank goodness her grandaughter had come home & alerted me that snake was coiled beside the steps I was coming down. Tried to kill it with a shovel but made it mad & it came up the steps after me. Finally got it to go down side of house but couldn't shoot it as it was lying beside the propane tank.Since I didn't want to kill us all I had to chase the thing with a mop & a shovel to make it move & finally shot it. I'm still heeby-jeebying!!! Something weird with the snakes this year. This one was on the cool concrete & also my sister had the same thing happen to her 2 weeks ago. Mocc was inside her closed carport coiled around the lower rung of her steps. She was walking her 2 yr old grandson down the steps instead of him going by himself. THANK GOD! She saw snake & called for hubby to kill it. She has a nice clean lawn but has ponds around her house. I'm sure they're looking to escape this heat. Personally I'm ready to move to the swiss alps this time of year. Oh & on top of that, I'm pretty sure I heard a gator bellowing on my property last week also. Got to buy more guns...
      Producing horses with gentle minds & brilliant movement!
      www.whitfieldfarm.shutterfly.com

      Comment


      • #4
        Great article!

        We live in S. Ga and our house is directly between the river and a pond......so we unfortunately get to see our fair share of these fellas. We also have some HUGE brownish/gray water snakes that will take your breath when you acccidently walk up on one. I try to leave the water snakes alone but they surely will make your heart skip a beat when you see them. I always look at the head, if it is shaped like an arrowhead, I shoot it......if it is shaped like my thumb, I leave it alone.

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        • #5
          I thought you can tell by the cotton in the cottonmouth and by looking at the feet on the water moccasin.

          We were 104+ two weeks ago and early morning and evening, we found 14 rattlers in the last two weeks.
          Rattler alert time right now around here.

          We even have a sign on our gate "watch for rattlesnakes" and mean it.

          Don't believe that one kind of snake runs others off, because here, we have seen rattlers and bullsnakes cohabiting without any problem.
          We do have a resident very large blue razer under the porch concrete, that is very shy and doesn't bother anything.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Bluey View Post
            I thought you can tell by the cotton in the cottonmouth and by looking at the feet on the water moccasin.

            We were 104+ two weeks ago and early morning and evening, we found 14 rattlers in the last two weeks.
            Rattler alert time right now around here.

            We even have a sign on our gate "watch for rattlesnakes" and mean it.

            Don't believe that one kind of snake runs others off, because here, we have seen rattlers and bullsnakes cohabiting without any problem.
            We do have a resident very large blue razer under the porch concrete, that is very shy and doesn't bother anything.
            EEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWWWW
            I HATE SNAKES !!!!
            Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "

            Comment


            • #7
              I second Zu Zu -- I hate snakes!!! The only good snake is a dead snake!!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by pooh View Post
                I second Zu Zu -- I hate snakes!!! The only good snake is a dead snake!!
                I think even snake wimps would like the blue racers, the greyhounds of snakes.
                They can be very long, six feet easily, but are super skinny and slick looking, shy, run off very fast and hide quickly in any hole.
                They don't give you a heart attack, thinking "poisonous snake!" when you barely see them before you step on them, because they clearly don't look like the rest of the snakes, but more like a slick, shiny wire that leaves the scene fast.

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                • #9
                  hahahaha the only place I'm going to see that cheek strip is goin to be in my nightmares cause there is No Way in hec I'm sticking around long enough to see it in person... Um.. No Thankyou... and I promise that if I have to dispose of one while my handy snake killing hubby isn't home. it's not going to have a head left to look for.
                  If i'm posting on Coth, it's either raining so I can't ride or it's night time and I can't sleep.

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                  • #10
                    Me too, I knew I should not have looked at that site, will have nightmares tonight.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Great article!! I have shot and killed 10 watermoccacins/cotton mouth snakes this spring, but was confused by the variety of colors and patterns. Now I know!! The big ones I've killed were charcoal gray - I wasn't close enough to see a cheek strip, but I also saw big ones with the wild body markings, too.

                      Bluey...what part of Texas are you in??? We are trying to relocate to NE Texas and I sure don't want to add rattlers to my list of enemies and fears!!
                      www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
                      Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Catersun View Post
                        hahahaha the only place I'm going to see that cheek strip is goin to be in my nightmares cause there is No Way in hec I'm sticking around long enough to see it in person... Um.. No Thankyou... and I promise that if I have to dispose of one while my handy snake killing hubby isn't home. it's not going to have a head left to look for.
                        Best reply ever!!!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by crosscreeksh View Post
                          Great article!! I have shot and killed 10 watermoccacins/cotton mouth snakes this spring, but was confused by the variety of colors and patterns. Now I know!! The big ones I've killed were charcoal gray - I wasn't close enough to see a cheek strip, but I also saw big ones with the wild body markings, too.

                          Bluey...what part of Texas are you in??? We are trying to relocate to NE Texas and I sure don't want to add rattlers to my list of enemies and fears!!
                          I think there are rattlers most every place in the USA, we just happen to have more of them here, many more, in the TX panhandle.
                          Where you are going, I don't know, I don't think they are that many there.
                          We have some cottonmouths too, but are really too dry for many of them, just around draws and dams.

                          I did have bad dreams with snakes last night.
                          Every snake dread I have is bad.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            HATE SNAKES !

                            Someone enlighten me ? on snake dreams how could any snake dream be good ??? Jingles for ALL snakes to die ! Jingle Jingle Jingle & AO ~ Always Optimistic !
                            Last edited by Zu Zu; Jun. 28, 2010, 08:30 AM. Reason: spelling
                            Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Zu Zu View Post
                              Someone enlighten me ? on snake dreams how could any snake dream be good ??? Jingles for ALL snakes to die ! Jingle Jingle Jingle & AO ~ Always Optimistic !


                              Good point there, snake dreams tend to all be scary.
                              Thankfully, I don't remember what the dream was, just that there were snakes in it and I woke up anxious, whatever was happening there.
                              I don't really want to know.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                honestly? when I see a big snake in the water near my ankles? I'm not sticking around until I can glimpse the shape of it's head, I'm GONE.

                                I don't think snakes should just be killed though, just because they are poisonous and you see it.

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                                • #17
                                  Poor snakes. I have met VERY few people who can reliably identify a cottonmouth. Many harmless water snakes are killed in their stead. I even had three people tell me a ringneck snake I was holding was a baby cottonmouth. Uh, hello, they look NOTHING alike.

                                  Please give snakes the benefit of some space to move out of your way, there is no need to go about hacking things heads off. Water snakes can also do a great job of mimicking a triangular head in attempts to scare scary people off. But they don't have fangs and a gaping white mouth and they also swim down in the water (cottonmouths swim floating up on top of the surface).
                                  Life doesn't have perfect footing.

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

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    If you have ever seen what damage a cottonmouth can do to a horse, you would kill every snake in sight! We had a mare 1 month from foaling with a cottonmouth strike right in her inner thigh, she probably laid down on it. The leg was swollen to about 5 times it's normal size, we had to worry about anaphylaxis..... and then necrosis set into the affected skin. She need to be hosed a ton of times a day. Sorry snakes!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by wildlifer View Post
                                      Poor snakes. I have met VERY few people who can reliably identify a cottonmouth. Many harmless water snakes are killed in their stead. I even had three people tell me a ringneck snake I was holding was a baby cottonmouth. Uh, hello, they look NOTHING alike.

                                      Please give snakes the benefit of some space to move out of your way, there is no need to go about hacking things heads off. Water snakes can also do a great job of mimicking a triangular head in attempts to scare scary people off. But they don't have fangs and a gaping white mouth and they also swim down in the water (cottonmouths swim floating up on top of the surface).
                                      Sorry, when rattlers have room to get away, like the one a few days ago, they go into the hay barn and hide in the hay and someone may get bitten, eventually.
                                      No, here rattlers belong out far off in the canyons, not around the houses and barns.
                                      Not like they are endangered and need protection.
                                      Next time a person or horse or dog gets bitten, if you "just let them be", you will have to live wondering if that one you let go is the one that did the damage.

                                      We can't avoid having some rattlers around here, we don't need to try to cohabitate with them.
                                      We need to be sensible and not take unnecessary risks with the dangers we can avoid.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                                        Sorry, when rattlers have room to get away, like the one a few days ago, they go into the hay barn and hide in the hay and someone may get bitten, eventually.
                                        No, here rattlers belong out far off in the canyons, not around the houses and barns.
                                        Not like they are endangered and need protection.
                                        Next time a person or horse or dog gets bitten, if you "just let them be", you will have to live wondering if that one you let go is the one that did the damage.

                                        We can't avoid having some rattlers around here, we don't need to try to cohabitate with them.
                                        We need to be sensible and not take unnecessary risks with the dangers we can avoid.

                                        amen bluey.
                                        If i'm posting on Coth, it's either raining so I can't ride or it's night time and I can't sleep.

                                        Comment

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