Recognizing the Water Moccasin: Identifying and Staying Safe Around This Venomous Snake


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The water moccasin, also known as the cottonmouth snake, is a venomous species native to the southeastern United States. Being able to identify this snake is essential for safety, as their venom can be potent. Here are key features to help how to identify a water moccasin:

1. Coloration: Water moccasins are typically dark-colored snakes with a body that ranges from brown, olive-green, or nearly black. They often have a distinctive pattern of dark bands or crossbands that can be seen, especially on younger individuals. However, as they age, these markings may fade, making color less reliable for identification.

2. Head Shape: One of the most distinctive features of water moccasins is their triangular-shaped head. It's much wider at the back than at the front and is often described as "blocky" or "spade-like." Non-venomous snakes typically have more slender and rounded heads.

3. Eye Placement: Water moccasins have vertical pupils, much like a cat's. This feature helps distinguish them from non-venomous snakes, which generally have round pupils.

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