Do all "water moccasins" have fangs?
Naturalists and biologists usually don't like to use the name "water
moccasin" because it can refer to different species of snakes in different
parts of the country. That is why scientists use the latin name system. In
much of the southern United States the local name water moccasin usually
means the same as "cottonmouth" which is a poisonous snake and therefore has
fangs. Once in a while someone may call a "copperhead" which is another
southern poisonous snake a moccasin too, but copperheads are more upland
snakes and not that often near water. The real confusion comes with the
non-poisonous water snakes. There are several different species in different
parts of the country, they look a lot alike and many people fear they are
poisonous and call them "water moccasins," but they are not poisonous, and
therefore do not have fangs.
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Update: June 2012