Copper Head Snakes and Water Snakes
Identification of the venomous copperhead snake and the harmless northern banded water snake
In the Eastern US one of the biggest fears of homeowners and people who work or play outside near the water is venomous spiders and snakes. However, in fear of these creatures, other non-venomous and beneficial species are often misidentified and killed. Today's post is how to tell if a snake is a copperhead snake (Agkistrodon contortorix) or the harmless northern banded water snake (Nerodia sipedon). Both look similar, but they have some key differences.
Let's Begin with Copperheads....
Copperhead snakes are the most common venomous snake in the Eastern US. They are in the pit viper family (Crotalidae, pronounced Crow-tAl-a-day). They are also in the genus Agkistrodone (pronounced ag-kiss-trow-doe-ne), which includes the cottonmouth or water moccasin. It is a shy snake that is usually not aggressive and its bites are rarely fatal, though they can be painful.