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Posted by oldherper on May 11, 2003 at 12:27:45:
In Reply to: The next snake??? posted by Thudpucker on May 11, 2003 at 11:44:57:
By the way, in general, the gradually tapering body/tail indicates a male and the abruptly tapering body and short tail indicates a female. Some snakes are easier to identify by this method than others.
It is possible that you would see a copperhead in a creek, but more likely watersnakes. Some of the watersnakes are fairly vividly marked and they are highly variable in markings.
An easy way to tell at a glance if you are seeing a watersnake or a "moccasin" (copperhead or cottonmouth) swimming is that the "moccasins" are much more bouyant than the watersnakes or other colubrids such as ratsnakes, garter snakes, water snakes, etc. This will also apply to rattlesnakes...and crotalid snake. They will swim "on top" of the water, with their whole body afloat and they are much larger in girth for their length. They are capable of diving, but most of the time will swim on top. At any rate, if you see a heavy bodied snake swimming "on top" of the water, it will most likely be a crotalid snake.
As far as the green snake that tried to steal your fish, the only thing I can think of is a Green Water Snake (Nerodia cyclopion cyclopion). The ID key for this species is that they have a row of scales between the subocular scales and the superlabial scales, which other water snakes don't have. Of course, you have to catch him and examine him closely to see that...possibly not a good move in an area that has an abundance of cottonmouths, such as where you live. They are more of an olive greenish color though..not bright green like a Rough Green Snake (Opheodrys ssp), but you aren't likely to find a Rough Green Snake trying to steal fish off a stringer anyway since they are insectivores, terrestrial or arboreal, and not big enough to eat a sunfish. So...that pretty much narrows it down to a Green Water Snake.
:Southwest Louisiana, Beauregard Parish, near a lake, but high ground.
:This guy was relaxing on the edge of the worm bed. (three teenage boys squealed like little girs when they raised that lid and the snake began to move)
:He's about 30+ inches long. Small head and long slender taperd sharp pointed tail. Sort of a 'flat tire' belly. The sides flabbed out as he went off.
:Bueatiful dull black with Bright yellow checks.
:The checks range in size from one scale, to a group of scales about 1/2" square.
:The large squares alternate in a checkerboard pattern. The larger aquares of Yellow checks are on his lower sides and belly.
:He's pretty fast too.
:Oldherperguy, thanks for the tip on Roger conants book. I'm sure I can get it through the library.
:PS: while fishing I tried teasing a large Moccasin with a live minnow. I just held the wriggeling minnow up to his nose dangling from the end of my fishing rod.
:He just turned his head.
:When I moved the minnow over to his nose again, he left!
:We have some really brightly colored snakes that I see swimming across the creek too. Could that be Copperheads? Or is there some water snakes with the bright fall colors, in the spring?
:A green snake tried to get a fish off my stringer. I watched him try to get the little sunfish by the head. He was foiled by the stringer though. I ran him off.
:Lots of snakes down here. But the book in the library has not id'd any of the ones I've seen so far. Except Moccasins and Copperheads.