Nerodia fasciata © Fiona Sunquist
The banded water snake is one of the most common snakes in Florida. It lives in rivers, lakes, ponds and ditches, and is often seen sunning itself on river and lake edges, or in overhanging bushes. Banded water snakes are often mistaken for the venomous cottonmouth or water moccasin, as these two species look very similar, but you can usually tell them apart by their behavior.
Cottonmouths open their jaws wide in a threat display, showing the white inside the mouth. They also twitch the tip of their tail when they are disturbed. Banded water snakes do neither. Even when provoked they don’t show the open-mouth threat.
For more tips on ways to tell water snakes from cottonmouths go to this link.
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