Check out how to identify a water moccasin…

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Snakes are very mysterious in nature, and it is quite difficult to find out about them thoroughly. A lot of people hesitate to study about them. Firstly, when it comes to snakes, people have immense fear in their minds. Secondly, the snakes can be quite unpredictable, and if they bite you then it can even put you in life threatening situations. Sometimes, people might wonder how to identify a water moccasin. If you come in contact with a particular snake that you don’t know much about, then it is highly recommended that you stay away from it. Sometimes, they could be non-venomous. But at other times, their venom could be extremely poisonous. So, until and unless you are not sure about these things, it is better to stay out of their reach. Sometimes, people belonging from scientific backgrounds might study about these creatures for different purposes. Such people might possess in-depth knowledge regarding different kinds of snakes. Some try to study about their habitats, eating habits, behavior, breeding habits, etc. At the same time, a lot of people do research on their venoms, as well as how they can be modified chemically in order to benefit mankind.

How to identify a water moccasin through its color?

When it comes to any creature, the first and foremost thing that we notice about them is their color. So, let’s take a look at the color variations that are observed in these snakes.

  • If you are thinking about the young water moccasin, then you need to keep in mind that their color can range from tan to brown.
  • In addition to that, you will also be able to find more that ten to fifteen darker bands along the back of these snakes.
  • The baby water moccasins have a yellow coloured tail, and interestingly, they use their tails as bait in order to attract prey.
  • Once these snakes age, their tails become green in color. Thereafter, as they become fully adult, their tail will become black coloured.
  • It should be noted that in the case of the adult snakes, the bands might not be clearly visible. This is because of the fact that the body of the snake will become dark brown or black in color as it enters adulthood.
  • Another feature of the water moccasins is that the adult snakes have a distinct white coloured marking which extends from the point below each eye to the corner area of their jaws.
  • In addition to that, you will also be able to find a thin, and pale coloured line above their eyes.

Identifying characteristics associated with the head & eyes

The curious minds that are wondering how to identify a water moccasin by looking at its head and eyes should go through the points mentioned below.

  • The head of this snake is arrow-shaped, and when viewed from the top, it appears like a triangle.
  • An interesting fact about these snakes is that whenever they find themselves in danger, they will flatten their heads in order to appear larger. This will temporarily increase the size of their heads. As a result, it might frighten away other animals.
  • Another identifying characteristic of these snakes is that the pupils that are present in their eyes have an elliptical shape like that of a cat.
  • The heads of these snakes tend to appear more squared off at the edges. You will be able to clearly notice the pits between the eyes, and nostrils.
  • Because of the presence of these pits, the water moccasins are often regarded as a member of the pit viper family of venomous snakes. These include the rattlesnakes and copperheads.
  • The pits are heat sensitive organs that assist the water moccasins to detect the presence of rodents, as well as other warm blooded animals.

See how to identify a water moccasin through its behavior

Most people might assume that all the snakes have the same behavior. But it is not so, and each species has its own characteristic nature, as well as behavior. So, let’s see how we can identify this particular snake through its behavior.

  • In most cases, the humans will not be able to notice these snakes as they tend to slip away quite fastly into their habitats if they sense any kind of impending danger. Since they are water snakes, they will try their best to seek water whenever possible.
  • If the water moccasins feel threatened, then they will open their mouth wide. The inside of their mouth will be white or pink in color. Unlike other snakes, they will not try to strike. 
  • In fact, these snakes are also known as cottonmouth because of showcasing their white coloured mouths when startled. The water moccasins are the only snakes that behave in this manner when they feel any sort of danger nearby.
  • The water moccasins tend to shake their tail frequently. They also emit a musky scent while shaking their tail. This odor helps them to keep the predators away.
  • As we all know, almost every snake possesses the ability to swim. But, when it comes to water moccasins, they keep their head above the water while swimming.
  • It must be noted that the water moccasins have a thick body, and as a result, they are able to achieve more buoyancy when compared to the snakes that have a thin body. So, the water moccasins body will barely break the water’s surface while it swims.


We have discussed how to identify a water moccasin through its color, head and eyes, as well as behavior. These snakes can grow up to three feet in length and sometimes, they might even grow longer than that. In addition to that, their bodies tend to be thicker in nature. When compared to the other snakes of the same length, they appear a bit more bulky. They also have short tails which are also thicker like the rest of the body. The body of the water moccasins taper around the neck region. Lastly, their head is considerably wider than their neck. So, these features will help you to identify these snakes properly

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