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Brown Water Snake

10.01.2006 - I caught this Brown Water Snake, Nerodia taxispilota, on the shores of Lake Maitland, FL. Many people confuse this snake with the venomous Cottonmouth, or Water Moccasin. The Brown Water Snake is, of course, an aquatic snake, just like the Cottonmouth. Most aquatic snakes have bulky bodies. And of course pretty much all snakes have triangular heads larger in size than their necks. Thus, this snake does mimic the body shape of the cottonmouth, in addition to sharing its habitat. However, the snake is not venomous. It does give birth to live young, just like the Cottonmouth. It can give birth to up to 50 young. The largest an adult can grow to is about 4.5 feet. The one in this photo is more like 2.5 feet.

I've only caught a few. They are not uncommon, but they spend most of their times in lakes and ponds, and not in homes or swimming pools, and thus I don't get many calls for this snake. It is identifiable to the layman by its brown color and markings. The adult Cottonmouth is not brown, but black. Juvenile Water Moccasins do have brown bands. If you're unsure about the identity of any specie of snake, especially one in the water, just leave it alone! In fact, it's best to leave snakes alone in general. I released this one unharmed back into the lake.

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How to get rid of water snakes - Water snakes are very beneficial to ponds and lakes. The snakes keep populations of insects, amphibians, and reptiles to a minimum. If you really donít want the snakes around your property, they can be trapped with the same methods as a terrestrial snake. A water snake spends a good deal of time sunning itself on dry land. This helps with temperature regulation since the snakeís body gets cold from swimming. Glue traps are effective against most snakes, and the water snake is no exception. Through the use of scent lures, the glue trap will draw the snake into the box-like contraption. Once inside, the snake will become fixed to the glue pad on the base of the trap. These traps are made for humane capture and relocation only. Do not leave the snake inside to suffer. As soon as you can, remove the snake to another body of water and apply cooking oil to the glue. The oil will deactivate the stickiness and will allow the snake to wiggle free. You can reuse the trap by rinsing it off with some water to clean it and then placing it back out by the pond.

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