Originally posted by jpshaw
Here in Louisiana every one who sees a snake in or near the water starts yelling "Water Moccasin". Almost every one is the common brown water snake or the diamond back water snake. You will know if its a water Moccasin by the fact its shaped like a football. A moccasin thats 3 feet long would be at least 4 inches in diameter. A common water snake can reach 5 ft and be about 1 1/2 " around.
Yep. Any Louisiana boy that has been here his whole life can spot the difference immediately. Cotton-mouths are fat and short, while water snakes are usually longer and more slender and have "bug" eyes that stick out. They also put off a nasty smelling musk if you grab them.
Generally you don't have to worry about dying from any snakes here in Louisiana but you can if you don't get treated soon enough.
These are our only venemous species:
1) Coral snake - pretty toxic, but hard to be bitten by these because they are very small and rear fanged so you have to be bitten on the fingers/toes or be a small child. They are also not very aggressive so bites are rare.
2) Rattlesnake - Your usual rattlesnake. Very defensive and of course bites are nasty and usually results in bad scars. Very fond of water/rivers/swamps which surprisingly most people don't know. (I believe this is due to people always seeing rattlesnakes in the deserts on TV)
3) Water Moccasin - Very defensive, almost always coils into a ball with the head in the center. Opens mouth wide showing off the white colored flesh inside the mouth as a last ditch effort to scare off predators before striking. Not the most toxic on venom, but definitely needs treatment if you're bitten.
4) Copperhead - Looks just like a pile of brown leaves. I've not seen one of these in years (probably because they're so damn good at hiding, lol) This is the least toxic species we have and most healthy adults don't even need treatment after a bite from one of these.
The rest of our snakes are non venomous.