The Water Moccisan Debate

cweg

Arachnopeon
Joined
Nov 5, 2002
Messages
44
I have been having an ongoing debate with a couple of people I know about the distribution of the water moccisan snake. I live in the Washington DC area and have had several people who I don't consider knowledgable tell me they have seen this snake in our rivers and streams. I don't think these snakes live this far north. Any one have more info on thjis snake?
 

Buspirone

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Mar 10, 2003
Messages
1,064
I thought they only ranged as far north as southern Virginia. Maybe they saw a black racer or a black ring-neck snake.
 

RugbyDave

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Apr 5, 2003
Messages
1,428
you should post this in the "NOT SO SPINELESS FORUM" ---

there's snake people there.

peace
dave
 

Bry

Arachnodemon
Old Timer
Joined
Mar 22, 2003
Messages
773
Well, while this topic is here, I'll chime in. Water Mocassins, or the Cottonmouths, range from the southeastern part of Virginia all the way into Florida. The northernmost tip of the range is not too far from Washington DC. If there are any found in the DC area, the population is most likely very sparse, but still possible, because it's a little ways from their known range. What I think your friend saw was the northern water, redbelly water, or brown water snake. Water snakes are often mistaken for cottonmouths, due to similar body shape, pattern, and because both species spend a considerable amount of time in or near water. It's quite impossible to mistake a black racer or a ringneck for a water mocassin. But, you know how people are around snakes. As soon as they see a snake in the water, instant water mocassin. :rolleyes:

cottonmouth or water mocassin


northern water snake


Bry
 

cweg

Arachnopeon
Joined
Nov 5, 2002
Messages
44
Thanks for the info. What you said about people around snakes..... Too true!
 

Wade

Arachnoking
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 16, 2002
Messages
2,933
As an employee of a nature center in VA, this comes up often at work. No cottonmouth (verified) has ever been found north of Hopewell, VA (about 30 miles south of Richmond, more than 100 miles south of the DC area). Not to say it's impossible that one would turn up in northern VA/DC, but I know several herpetologists who would be very surprised and excited if someone found one as it would be quite a range extension!

The Northern Water Snake is likley the one they're seeing. Brown water snakes and redbelly water snakes are resticted to the south east part of the state and the ringneck is a pretty small snake.

Of course, as Bry says, if it's in the water...

Wade
 
Top