Brown Water Snake

By William T. Hathaway

Brown Water Snake (Nerodia taxispilata)

It isn't often that an author gets the opportunity to apologize for having erroneously identified a crushed snake. In a former article this picture of a Brown Water Snake (Nerodia taxispilata) was labeled as a Cottonmouth Moccasin.

It is, however, interesting that this brown water snake has the same general distribution as the cottonmouth. On the map (below, right) the cottonmouth moccasin area is printed in green; Pittsylvania County is dabbled in red. Obviously the range of the cottonmouth is east of us in the coastal plain.

Despite the declaration by well-known herpetologists that the cottonmouth isn't native to our area, some hunters and fishermen are not convinced. They are unwilling to closely inspect the identifying features of our local water snake to prove that it's not a cottonmouth moccasin.

(Also see other snakes.)