On a group walk to the Observation Tower at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area (ORCA) on 8-14-2009, we encountered this husky Florida water snake (Nerodia fasciata pictiventris). These semi-aquatic snakes are found throughout the southeast. They are NOT poisonous but, when threatened, will bite and will release a stinky musk.
This thick-bodied snake can grow to be 3 1/2′ long. As they age, they darken, and the bands become less evident. The snake that we saw had a puncture wound on its tail end.
This feisty snake sometimes is mistaken for a cottonmouth snake because they occupy similar habitats. The eyes of Florida banded snakes are round, while cottonmouth snakes have elliptical eyes. Cottonmouths also have a facial pit between their eyes.
Camera-shy Bob Montanaro is shown below returning to his car after a hot August hike …