Spring Break 2018: A Rather Dark Banded

Nerodia fasciata pictiventris, the Florida banded watersnake;
Collier county, Florida (15 March 2018).
Series: Spring Break 2018.

In South Florida, the Florida banded watersnake, Nerodia fasciata pictiventris, tends to be quite dark in coloration and patterning. Indeed, the species can be quite variable in coloration and patterning throughout the entirety of the Florida peninsula, but in South Florida, black seems to be the name of the game. This, of course, often further encourages people to misidentify Florida bandeds as being venomous Florida cottonmouths (Agkistrodon piscivorus conanti/Agkistrodon conanti). Such was the case of this Florida banded observed from overhead on an elevated boardwalk trail. A couple of cats in front of us were pointing at the snake and marveling at the “cottonmouth” sitting right there… Of course, this is not a cottonmouth (and, alas, never will be). Still, when people see beefy, dark snakes damn near anywhere near water, they tend to believe they’re seeing cottonmouths. Florida banded watersnakes such as this one are entirely non-venomous and entirely unrelated to Florida cottonmouths.

Nerodia fasciata pictiventris, 15 March 2018 (1)

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