While cottonmouths and water snakes both swim in essentially the same manner, there is one important difference. Some snakes—such as the completely aquatic sea snakes—have paddle-like tails and dorsally placed nostrils, while other species do not exhibit such extreme morphological adaptations for swimming. The coloration of a northern water snake varies greatly. Savannah River Ecology Laboratory: Water Moccasin (Agkistrodon piscivorous), Journal of Experimental Biology: Heat in Evolution's Kitchen: Evolutionary Perspectives on the Functions and Origin of the Facial Pit of Pitvipers (Viperidae: Crotalinae), Journal of Experimental Zoology: Comparisons of Aquatic Versus Terrestrial Predatory Strikes in the Pitviper, Agkistrodon piscivorus, Adaptations of Cottonmouth Water Moccasins. Cottonmouths are very buoyant snakes that usually float while holding their heads high out of the water. In this article we’ll take a look at Water Moccasins vs Cottonmouths and discern the difference, if any. It can be difficult to distinguish cottonmouths from the many nonvenomous water snakes of the region without getting dangerously close to the unknown snake. One of these is the venomous cottonmouth—also known as the water moccasin. North Carolina Snakes That Live Near Water, Snakes That Swim with Their Heads out of Water. Shape The World. It can be difficult to distinguish cottonmouths from the many nonvenomous water snakes of the region without getting dangerously close to the unknown snake. Regardless of their morphological adaptations, most snakes swim in essentially the same way—by undulating from side to side, while using the tail to provide propulsion. All snakes can swim, and most species do so quite well; nevertheless, some snakes are better swimmers than others. The water moccasin has a brownish color, but this will also go darker as they age more. This behavior may be associated with the defensive use of their facial pits; by aiming their heads upward, the snakes can better see looming, warm-blooded predators. Blotched Water Snake This snake is olive green to brown with dark grayish-brown blotches across the back. People sometimes fear that it is a water moccasin, also called a cottonmouth. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. (Please note, the Northern Water Snake is NOT the same as a Water Moccasin.) Several different snake species live in the wetlands, ponds and rivers of the southeastern United States. They are pit vipers with two small pits on the front of their face that detect infrared light—heat—from their surroundings. Conversely, water snakes typically swim at or under the surface of the water, with their heads level with their bodies. Several different snake species live in the wetlands, ponds and rivers of the southeastern United States. Snakes That Look Like Rattlesnakes But Are Not. Additionally, as cottonmouths frequently exhibit gaping behavior at predators, the elevated head posture may help them to engage in this tactic. This confusion often is a result of the observer relying solely on northern Water snake The northern water snake is often killed out of fear. Others may mistake it for a copperhead. Although water moccasins are the same however, there are more than one type. One of these is the venomous cottonmouth—also known as the water moccasin. Florida's Snakes Cottonmouth or Water Moccasin (Agkistrodon piscivorus) VENOMOUS. Venomous snakebites are rare and can usually be avoided; however, knowing how to respond correctly to venomous snakebites is also important. Another physical attribute of this snake is that a pit is present between the eyes and nostrils of this snake. Water Moccasin vs. Cottonmouth. Northern Copperhead vs Northern Water Snake vs Eastern Milk Snake Two of New Jersey’s snakes are often misidentified as Copperheads: the Northern Water Snake and the Eastern Milk Snake. Cottonmouths reach about 4 feet in length, and produce live young in the fall. Water Moccasin Bite and Treatment. The snake is often mistaken for the venomous cottonmouth snake, but the diamondback water snake, like all water snakes, is irritable and will bite if threatened.

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