Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Water Moccasins
Name: sydney
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A


Question:
Do all "water moccasins" have fangs?



Replies:
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.

J. Elliott



Click here to return to the Biology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory