Cottonmouth? Or other watersnake???

GartenSpinnen

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A guy at the local pet store offered me 2 water snakes of some sort, he didnt know what kind they were or anything about them someone just dropped them off in the tank. One is about 13" long, the other around 14-16" long. They are VERY high strung and getting close to them they will take off like crazy all around the aquarium i have them in. I want to know if they are the venomous cottonmouth or just regular water snakes. The guy "believed" they were taken from Michigan which im pretty sure is cottonmouth free, but i just want to be on the safe side. Also i have heard that regular water snakes can be very aggressive and have a nasty bite, is that true? Well heres a picture of the snakes, any help would be much appreciated! Thanks...
(sorry bout the bad pics, best i could do at the moment)
 
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froggyman

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just a normal watersnake imo
Kinda looks like a northern watersnake
 

GartenSpinnen

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Indeed it was a normal watersnake. Upon closer inspection i pretty much figured out it was no type of viper (im not real good with snakes...), as far as them being very defensive they wernt. They were just a skittish snake. The older one (in the picture) appeared to be completely blind and it was missing the tip of its tail. I didnt really want to handle them bare handed (risk of bite, they have an anti-coagulant in there saliva i guess?) so i used some gloves and handled the smaller one, which turned out to be as docile as a garter snake, which suprised me after some of the stuff i read up on them! Both were just now let go in a local park that is on a river. They seemed happy to be back in the wild :). Im not real fond of people taking wild reptiles as pets, so when i get a chance to get ahold of wild animals people have taken as pets i let them go ASAP back into there natural habitat :).
 

AneesasMuse

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A beautiful snake, but I'm really glad you released it back! :)

I came across a Texas Rat in the local Petco the other day. It was easily 4.5 - 5' already... very docile, surprisingly... and in a 10g fish tank!! :evil: The space was so small, the snake was wrapped around at least twice and there was absolutely NO room for a temp gradient. The heat mat and the hide covered the bottom pretty much.

I asked them to call me if the employee that wanted it didn't actually take it... apparently he did.
 

skinheaddave

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A beautiful snake, but I'm really glad you released it back! :)
The principle of releasing them is great -- but in actual fact that is generally not a great idea.

First off, the poster does not know where they came from. Moving animals around to different ranges can mess with the populations already in that area. This is how we end up with many of our invasive species in the first place. Red Eared Sliders are a perfect example of the danger posed by released pets. While the odds are great that these two will simply die in their first year in a strange new world, there is a slight possibility that they might survive and a very, very slight chance that they might do some damage to the native population.

More importantly by far is the fact that the poster doesn't know for sure what other animals have been in close proximity to the released specimens. There are lots of fun little diseases circulating around the reptile trade. This is where the real danger lies -- for a released pet harbouring any number of viral/bacterial/parasitological diseases to be released into the wild. Then there is some real chance of damaging the local fauna. Not a sure shot by any stretch of the imagination -- but by considering taking from the wild to be a one-way street the possibility dissapears.

Cheers,
Dave
 

AneesasMuse

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Sorry... should've clarified my statement. I made that statement with the implication that all of your points for release were already taken into consideration.

I am not an advocate of "messing up" our environment and eco systems, etc. by "free nilly" releases of critters.... not in any way.

I'll try to be clearer next time ;)

~Aminah
 

GartenSpinnen

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I found out the snakes were local to my area, the river where i released them to is rumored to be crawling with them. So it was 2 snakes released where they are native and where there is already a large concentration of them. I do not see how this is bad? They both appeared quite healthy also, except for the one being blind.
 

skinheaddave

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Appearance of health means little. You need to know under what conditions they have been kept since their capture. This is why supportive breeding programs -- programs that breed animals in captivity for release back into the wild -- are so careful about quarentine with respect to other animals (especially non-native animals).

Odds are you have done no wrong, but I would not advocate the release of any animal back into the wild unless the location of capture is known, the animal has had no contact with other animals during captivity and the time of captivity has been minimal.

Cheers,
Dave
 

AnthrpicDecadnc

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That's definately a Northern Water Snake. They get confused for being cottonmouths here because they get very very dark here (almost black) and have a tendency of flattening their heads into a triangular shape (mimic) when threatened.

They are very defensive creatures, and will not hesitate to bite you. I caught one once that had a piece of intestine hanging out. i sterilized the wound, and used medical tape to close the snake up. the snake healed (living off of bullfrogs i caught at the same pond) and i released her. but she bit me hard and hung off my arm as i walked up the shore. the bite left a scar for a few months.
 
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