Many people believe that all snakes that live in water are water moccasins, but this is not the case. While both water moccasins and water snakes are semi-aquatic reptile species, there are some key differences between the two. Here’s a look at the main distinctions between water moccasin vs water snake.
Parameters on which the difference is based
One of the most obvious differences between water moccasins and water snakes is their appearance. Water moccasins, also known as cottonmouths, have a dark brown or black body with a white band around their neck. On the other hand, water snakes come in a variety of colors, including green, brown, and black. Some species of water snake also have stripes or spots on their bodies. The easiest way to tell the difference between a water moccasin and a water snake is by looking at the shape of their heads. A water moccasin has a wide, flat head, while a water snake’s head is more slender. Finally, water mocassins have elliptical pupils, while water snakes have round pupils.
Water snakes are nonvenomous, while water moccasins are venomous. This means that if you’re bitten by a water moccasin, you’ll need to seek medical attention immediately. Fortunately, there are antivenoms available that can help treat bites from these snakes.
While both water moccasins and water snakes can be found near sources of freshwater, such as lakes, rivers, and streams, they do have different habitat preferences. Water moccasins prefer still or slow-moving waters where they can bask in the sun on logs or rocks. They are often found in marshes or swamps near hardwood trees. Conversely, water snakes prefer faster-moving waters and can often be seen swimming under rocks or in tangled vegetation along riverbanks.
What a snake eats depends largely on its size. Smaller snakes, such as garter snakes and hognose snakes, primarily eat insects. Larger snakes, such as boa constrictors and rattlesnakes, typically eat mammals or birds. Water moccasins falls into the latter category; they typically eat frogs, fish, rodents, and other small animals. Water snakes generally eat the same types of prey as land-dwelling snakes; however, they will also eat aquatic prey, such as crayfish, crab chicks, and eels.
The bottom line
So, what’s the bottom line? Both water moccasins and water snakes are categorised under semi-aquatic reptiles that can be found near sources of freshwater; however, there are some remarkable differences between them. Water moccasins have a dark brown or black body with a white band around their neck while water snakes come in a variety of colors. Water moccasins prefer still or slow-moving waters while water snakes prefer faster-moving waters. Finally, diet is another area where these two types of reptiles differ; water moccasins typically eat frogs while water snakes will also eat aquatic prey. Although both snakes are found in bodies of water in the southern United States, only water mocassins are venomous—so it’s important to be able to tell them apart!