Nerodia fasciata confluens
Broad-banded Water Snake is often incorrectly referred to as a "water moccasin." This is because of its generally dark coloration and its irritable disposition. When threatened, Broad-banded Water Snakes will behave like all other local harmless water snakes of the genus Nerodia. They will usually coil up and flatten out their head, making it look arrowhead shaped. However, head shape cannot be used to tell venomous snakes from harmless ones. They will also vibrate their tail, let out large amounts of foul smelling musk which smells like a skunk, and strike out repeatedly at whatever is threatening them. This defensive behavior often causes them to be mistaken for the venomous Western Cottonmouth. Since they are not venomous, though, treatment for the bite of a water snake usually involves no more than soap and water and a Band-Aid.
Reelfoot Lake, Tennessee
Our guide plunked this little guy from the water during our pontoon tour of the lake. He stoically hung on to while being repeatedly bitten so that we could get some great pics! We all got the dubious benefit of being musked!
Lat: 36.42, Long: -89.36
Spotted on May 9, 2012
Submitted on May 11, 2012
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