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Water Moccasin Snake

Ways to Identify a Water Moccasin Snake And Tips to Treat its Bite

The water moccasin snake is one of the most venomous snakes in the North America. This article provides important information on these snakes, like identifying it with pictures and the snake's bite and treatment.
Pragya T
Last Updated: Feb 8, 2018
These snakes belong to the Crotalidae (pit viper snakes) family and are among the most venomous snakes in the world. The bite of this snake can be fatal. Hence, these snakes are feared a lot. However, being able to spot a water moccasin can come very handy, if you live near the natural habitat of this snake, as it will help you to keep you and others around you safe.

Below are the guidelines for identifying this snake.
How to Identify Water Moccasin?
This snake is a type of cottonmouth snake. One of the cottonmouth snake facts, it that they get their name from the habit of displaying the white surface of their mouth.
Cottonmouth water snake
Young florida cottonmouth snake
Water moccasin snake
Water moccasin snake
Here are some of the important attributes one needs to remember to identify this deadly snake.
  • The water moccasin habitats aremostly near the freshwater habitats, like rivers, wetlands which have heavy vegetation, cypress swamps, and floodplains. Sometimes these snakes dwell far from the wetlands. They can sometimes be seen around a drying pool to catch fish or amphibians.
  • This snake is mostly observed in Florida. It has many times, been observed in Texas and Alabama. Though this snake is found in North America, there is a possibility of its presence in other states too.
  • Also, one way to distinguish between harmless water snake and venomous water moccasin is that it has a heavy body shape, while harmless water snake has a slender body shape.
  • Their defense display habit, is a sure way of spotting them. In this display, they will keep their mouth open and show the white lining inside their mouth, which can be observed on the top right picture. The water moccasin coils up its body and display its whitish mouth, assuming an aggressive posture.
  • The adult and the young water moccasin look a bit different in appearance. The young ones have red-brown crossed patterns and yellowish tails.
  • The cross pattern can be seen in adults too, but can be more distinctly seen in the young ones. This crossed or diamond-shaped pattern can be seen in adults in greenish or tan colors. You can observe these physical attributes in the pictures.
  • A full-grown water moccasin, can be about 4 to 6 feet long.
  • These snakes have a triangular-shaped head, which can be seen in the top-left picture.
  • Water moccasin snake's neck is narrower than the head.
  • A common habit of these snakes is that they keep holding their head at a 45ยบ angle.
  • Another physical attribute of this snake is that a pit is present between the eyes and nostrils of this snake.
  • The eye pupil type is vertical  in case of water moccasin, whereas harmless water snake has a round eye pupil type.
Water Moccasin Bite and Treatment
If you are able to identify the snake, do not disturb it, as it can react with a bite. Here, is the water moccasin bite and treatment information.
Water Moccasin Snakebite
The venom glands in this snake are present around the area, where the jaws join. When the snake bites, the muscle present around these glands squeezes out the deadly venom and transfers it inside the person or prey. The venom of this snake destroys the blood cells, which leads to a reduction in the clotting of the blood, and finally hemorrhage of the body parts. Sometimes this snake might give just a dry bite, which doesn't mean that you should ignore the bite of this snake. If the bite is untreated it can lead to the death of a person.
Water Moccasin Bite Treatment
Call '911' and get immediate medical help for the water moccasin bite treatment. The treatment involves using some antivenins and antibiotics. Many times, intravenous fluids are administered to the patient. However, you can maintain a kit of first aid for snakebite in you home, for emergency situations.
Keep in mind the above listed physical attributes of water moccasin snake so that if you see one, you are able to identify it. In case you spot one, don't try to get rid of it yourself. Instead, contact the snake control authorities. You can keep the phone number of the authorities somewhere handy, like a sticky note on your refrigerator.