April 19, 2019
A Case of Mimicry
Posted by: John Cassell
To the brave soul picking up this cottonmouth, “WHAT ARE YOU THINKING”?! Oh, wait a second, there is more to a snake than meets the eye. Many species here in Georgia have colored bands, blotches, and markings to make them blend into their backgrounds. Often these markings confuse people, as a harmless snake’s markings can resemble those of one that is deadly.
Meet the harmless and non-venomous, banded water snake, Nerodia fasciata. Growing to about 4 ft. in length, this snake can be light-brown to reddish-black and you guessed it, lives primarily near freshwater habitats (lakes, ponds, rivers, wetlands, swamps, and marshes). Due to its colors it is often misidentified as a water moccasin (aka, “cottonmouth”), which is why you should never try to pick up a snake in the wild you do not know. Furthermore, like all native snakes in Georgia, it is against the law to take them from the wild.