Question 3 of 12

Which of the snakes below is a cottonmouth (water moccasin)?


Choose an option from the pictures below:


Nope! This is a brown water snake, Nerodia taxispilota, and is not venomous. They will lay a mean bite on you given the chance, however. Experienced field herpetologists have been known to recoil in terror at the ferocity of this snake's strike.


Correct! This is a young cottonmouth exhibiting the open-mouth display from which they get their name. The bold body coloration usually fades as the get older.


Nope! This is a Florida banded water snake, Nerodia fasciata, and is not venomous, though they are often mistaken for cottonmouths by laypersons. Notice the round pupils and the black edges on the scales around the mouth.


Correct! This is an adult cottonmouth, and is distinguished by the brown stripe along the side of the face bordered by white, and the elliptical pupil ("cat's eye").