Nerodia taxispilota, the Brown watersnake;
Lake county, Florida (06 June 2004).
The Brown watersnake is the “most arboreal” non-venomous watersnake found in Florida; they often bask on limbs overhanging freshwater bodies of water. If you ever hear a story about a cottonmouth falling into a boat, kayak, or canoe, there’s a decent chance that was actually a Brown watersnake. That’s on par for their behavior (their defensive mode is to simply slip from their perch into the water below) and not so much for cottonmouths (which don’t typically climb limbs and perch over water). As with all of Florida’s Nerodia watersnakes, the Brown water snake is non-venomous and non-aggressive, though they can certainly huff and puff a nice a defensive display when they are cornered on land.