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Need Help Identifying This Snake


BMSquared
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I found this little cutie about 2 feet from my head while doing Freewater 1 today. The snake was hanging out in a tree or large bush right next to the river. It was not a garter snake, it was not a rattler, it was not a copperhead. The head did appear to be slightly triangular in shape. (yes, I know they all do when you find them unexpectedly). It headed straight forthe water when I poked it with a stick. I suspected cotton mouth which is why I poked it. It didn't show me the inside of its mouth, so I can't be sure. Anyone know what it is? I have the larger photo available if it helps. 255ef977-baab-4d87-b9a1-a429dbddde87.jpg

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Does sound like the water snake (often confused with a cottonmouth)...and having seen WAY more than my share of water moccasins over the years...the water snake does a good job of looking like the poisonous variety....

 

Plus, a cottonmouth probably wouldn't have jumped into the water when poked. They're more likely to turn around, grab your stick, and beat you over the head with it! Very agressive snakes!

Edited by KoosKoos
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The previous posters are correct in saying that it is probably a common water snake. Also the tail would lead me to believe that it is a water snake. The water snake tail tends to get thin very quickly. However without being able to see 1. The eyes. 2. the corner of the mouth, or 3. more detail on the markings of the snake and knowing that occasionally strange things happen I would recommend that if you can't positively identify a snake you assume that it may be venomous. Also you should know that all snakes can and do swim.

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No mystery--

http://www.fcps.k12.va.us/StratfordLanding...water_snake.htm

 

Probably in the tree seeking bird eggs to eat. Among the easiest meals for a snake.

 

JMBella's Black Snake was probably a Black Racer, which is a long snake.

 

Little known , snakes even the fastest can't not cover ground any faster than a human can walk at a slow normal pace.

Edited by Packanack
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No mystery--

http://www.fcps.k12.va.us/StratfordLanding...water_snake.htm

 

Probably in the tree seeking bird eggs to eat. Among the easiest meals for a snake.

 

JMBella's Black Snake was probably a Black Racer, which is a long snake.

 

Little known , snakes even the fastest can't not cover ground any faster than a human can walk at a slow normal pace.

Actually, it appeared to be sunning itself. I appreciate all the help. It might have been the Northern Water Snake. I really think it was an Anaconda.

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I'm pretty sure that's the famous 'Cold Hearted Snake'. I could be wrong. Did you take fingerprints? Next time try to take fingerprints, it always helps in these situations.

Did you you look into his eyes? (I can't believe I recalled that song!)

 

Krieky, ask Helmut the appointed snake charmer... :laughing:

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I'm pretty sure that's the famous 'Cold Hearted Snake'. I could be wrong. Did you take fingerprints? Next time try to take fingerprints, it always helps in these situations.

Did you you look into his eyes? (I can't believe I recalled that song!)

I did, but he's ben telling lies...I didn't have to look it up either. :huh:

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Can anyone help me with another snake identification? We saw this guy on the trail back from The Upper Yough Trek in Western Maryland. He really is dark green; no color distortion in the photo. Round head, round eyes.

Lep:

 

I sent the pic to two of our snake experts here at the PFBC. Many people don't know that the Fish and Boat Commission is responsible for management of amphibians and reptiles.

 

They will know for sure...but my best guess is that it is a watersnake. Whenever you take a pic of a snake, focus on the head if possible. Most of the identifying characteristics are in the head.

 

Salvelinus

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Many thanks, Salvelinus. Next time I'll ask the snake to show a profile view so I get a better head shot.

 

"That's right, baby.... just a little to the left... work it, baby, work it! The camera's LOVIN' you, baby.... oh yeah...."

 

And no, I was not aware of that bit of PFBC jurisdictional trivia. Is a reptile a "fish" or a "boat?" :P

 

Finally, I appreciated your advance warning to be well-prepared for The Upper Yough Trek. Though we did not need any of our safety gear, we were all happy that we had it along, just in case. Also, I hid film canisters every 529 feet along the way to this cache, in the hope that this would attract more visitors. The Maryland cache reviewer is giving me a hard time, though.

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Many thanks, Salvelinus.  Next time I'll ask the snake to show a profile view so I get a better head shot.

 

"That's right, baby.... just a little to the left... work it, baby, work it!  The camera's LOVIN' you, baby.... oh yeah...."

 

And no, I was not aware of that bit of PFBC jurisdictional trivia.  Is a reptile a "fish" or a "boat?"  :huh:

 

Finally, I appreciated your advance warning to be well-prepared for The Upper Yough Trek.  Though we did not need any of our safety gear, we were all happy that we had it along, just in case.  Also, I hid film canisters every 529 feet along the way to this cache, in the hope that this would attract more visitors.  The Maryland cache reviewer is giving me a hard time, though.

Amphibians and most Reptiles are aquatic critters...so the PFBC assumes responsiblility.

 

I'm still not sure how you avoided rock-hoppin. Thats what we mostly did. There were places where a bushwack seemed inpossible to us...but we did have to splunk a time or two as well!

 

I'm sure QM will be along shortly to "accidently" flick your film canisters into the raging river! :P

 

Salvelinus

Edited by Salvelinus
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The first one that BMSquared showed the picture of looks like a "black racer"... common in NJ & Pa...

The second pic (posted by The Leprachauns)... not sure, but looks like it may be poisonus...

Could be a Copperhead as they have rather distinctive markings...

This one looks like it has the right scale patterns, although the colors are darker...

From what I understand... most poisonus snakes have a wide head ( to accomodate the venom glands)...

 

I don't believe either are cottonmouths as they are native in S. Carolina and south of there...

Edited by Peconic Bay Sailors
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1. The snake I saw did not have the characteristic head shape of a copperhead. I've seen a copperhead and this snake looked benign in comparison.

 

2. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission ought to be renamed "The Pennsylvania Aquatic Critter and Boat Commission."

 

3. It would be wrong to kick the 60 film canisters into the river. That would be littering.

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The first one that BMSquared showed the picture of looks like a "black racer"... common in NJ & Pa...

I have played with and handled black racers over the years. I know this one wasn't one. I am really pretty convinced it was the Northern Water Snake per the posts on this thread, or an Anaconda per the J-Lo movie.

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The snake Lep pictured kinda freaked me out because of the patterns on the back. My experience with snakes is limited to the ones I see in western PA, and that was new to me. However, it didn't not have the head shape of a poisonous type, so once Lep and Nellsnake (who I think is poisonous) assured me that it was okay, I climbed down off of Eithnie's back.

 

As for the not-rock-hopping, we smartly took it uphill before we encountered too steep of a bank. The undergrowth wasn't as dense as some I've encountered other places, but add to that the climbing of rocks and tricky footing and it's tough going, period.

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The first one that BMSquared showed the picture of looks like a "black racer"... common in NJ & Pa...

The second pic (posted by The Leprachauns)... not sure, but looks like it may be poisonus...

Could be a  Copperhead as they have rather distinctive markings...

This one looks like it has the right scale patterns, although the colors are darker...

From what I understand... most poisonus snakes have a wide head ( to accomodate the venom glands)...

 

I don't believe either are cottonmouths as they are native in S. Carolina and south of there...

Just wondering if you read my above post. I sent the pic to two herpitologist I work with, who both confirmed it to be a water snake. There is no doubt about it.

 

The most common mis-identification of a snake is confusing the common Water Snake as a Copperhead.

 

Salvelinus

Edited by Salvelinus
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Not that I studied it well but I felt the head wasn't as triangular in shape but it could have been the angle I was looking at it from.

 

Regardless, I'm glad I didn't step on it, for both our sakes! After last weeks buzzard attack, I'm over my quota for girly shrieks until next month!

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Not that I studied it well but I felt the head wasn't as triangular in shape but it could have been the angle I was looking at it from.

 

Regardless, I'm glad I didn't step on it, for both our sakes! After last weeks buzzard attack, I'm over my quota for girly shrieks until next month!

Shreik away tuff guy, this is a Copperhead.

 

EDIT: Removed something really stupid.

Edited by BMSquared
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http://www.snakesandfrogs.com/scra/snakes/racer.htm

 

Black Racer.

 

Snakes do not leap, they strike, so a strike is limited to a short distance. Another reason to carry a hiking stick. The stick is usually planted in front of the walker and will draw a strike before a foot or leg. You can use to move a snake away from you. The fastest snake can not move any faster than a slow walking pace. They just look like they are zooming, they really aren't.

 

http://www.wf.net/~snake/faq11.htm

 

Be more careful about where you place hands than about feet. Do not go reaching in with your hands into rocky crevices in the heat of the day, or under logs on real hot days. Snakes warm with the sun at the beginning of the day and seek shelter from the heat as the day progresses. They are cold blooded.

Edited by Packanack
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Tommy,

It was not in the water? The picture looks like it was sitting in a puddle, but the description you gave says 5 feet up in a root system. Also, where where you? Might help in narrowing down the species. I am not discounting Packanack's identification, I just find it interesting.

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In the words of a famous man, "Snake? That's NO Snake.......now, this is a Snake!"

Click here!

Be thankful you only have to deal with the puny ones!

(Team Rampant Lion - Probably a good idea you got snake guardz...see what they can stop???)

 

"whereever you go there you'll be........unless you are lost!"
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Perfect Tommy - black racer

 

Team DEMP - copperhead

 

Be Carefull All, lots of snakes out there this year! Team Rampant Lion bought Snake Guardz after a close encounter, may not be a bad suggestion for all cachers. There are several brands in either gaiter (not like "alli") or chaps. Gaiters run around $50 a pair. Sure beats meeting Dr. Sean in the Venom ER and being introduced to Crofab!

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d9b6d255-fe4c-4198-b740-7efe1c7820d7.jpg

 

This guy was hiding under a rusty shovel head at the very first cache I ever went after, and let me tell you, it scared the Jeebis outta me (although I did manage to collect myself enough to go change my undies and get the camera to snag this shot.)

 

Now I always do the woodsy caches with a hiking staff, and I spent some time learning about snakes. The copperhead is actually very docile and prefers to stay still, relying on camoflage, when approached. Unless you step on one, or piss it off with prolonged poking, it won't budge. So don't step on one...

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he copperhead is actually very docile and prefers to stay still, relying on camoflage, when approached. Unless you step on one, or piss it off with prolonged poking, it won't budge. So don't step on one...

 

They lie still and rely on camoflage when you approach, yet you're not supposed to step on them :o . Why aren't poisonous snakes bright orange!

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Tonsil's snake is the one eyed snake, not to be confused with the one eyed trouser snake. :P

 

The cache guard looks like a juvenile Northern Water or juvenile copper head. Watersnakes tend to be longer and slimmer than the blocky thick copperhead. If snake has no markings on the head at all treat as a copperhead. (See the excellent phot posted by Airsafety, as can be seen head has no markings at all) Hard to tell from photo, next time get much closer for clarity. General rules only for US snakes, stripes are harmless. Only one banded the coral is venomous, found only in southern tier states. Patterned , use heightened caution rattlers and copperheads are in this grouping. Water mocassins, cotton mouths have white mouth linings, near water and swim with head high out of water. Juveniles are much more vivid in markings than olders.

 

National Audobon Society Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians ISBN 0-394-50824-6 has good photo and identifyers also has good range parameters. Available for about 20 at most good bookstores.

Edited by Packanack
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I think that the cache guard is a young bull snake. I would say that it defiantly isn't a young copperhead. They have a very triangular head and a hood over their eyes. Also the markings on the copperhead are of varying width not rectangular like the pictured photo.

 

It may also be a pine snake. Both of these snakes are in the same genus Pituophis.

Edited by webscouter.
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Saw this guy today near the Rocky Nook cache in Ramapo Mtn County Reservation. He was very patient and posed for many photos. I think its a black racer.

I agree with you. They are common in the area. Does anyone know, is the black rat and the black racer the same snake?

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No they are not,

 

The black rat snake Elaphe obsoleta is about 72 inches long fully grown, they appear shiny but in the right light you can see a pattern in them. The underside of the chin is white, further down the belly they are a checkerboard white and black and near the tail are gray.

 

The Black racer Coluber constrictor is shiny black with no pattern and blue-gray or gray on the belly. They are also much skinnier and shorter about 54 inches fully grown. Also most of the time the racer will quickly retreat from human contact although they are more aggressive when cornered.

 

Typically the black rat will freeze up when approached and is probably what you saw here.

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Saw this guy today near the Rocky Nook cache in Ramapo Mtn County Reservation. He was very patient and posed for many photos. I think its a black racer.

I agree with you. They are common in the area. Does anyone know, is the black rat and the black racer the same snake?

Black Rat Snakes and Black Racers look a lot alike, but the keeled scales and hint of white flecks along the sides are indicators of the Rat Snake, while no keeling and only a bit of white under the chin would be the Racer. A keeled scale is a ridge across the scale like the keel of a canoe. Get down really close and you can see it, or rub across it gently and you can feel it. [:blink:]

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Saw this big sucker the other day!

3f3a6ac7-759b-4d6a-bc7b-86c3484f498c.jpg

 

Yes, I know what it is, and that's as close as I dared get!

 

Even worse, it was in the bottom of a small canyon, and we couldn't give it a lot of room to pass; AND we had to go right past him on the way back out! ;)

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