Florida Water Snake

The ubiquitous Florida water snake can be found in almost any wet habitat in peninsular Florida including lakes, ponds, swamps, rivers and creeks. They prey upon fish and frogs. These snakes bear live young, like this tiny one from the Ashton neighborhood. If approached it may flatten its head into an arrow shape, but it is non-venomous and is not considered dangerous.


Water snakes can be quite variable in appearance, but can be easily be distinguished from the more dangerous Florida cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus conanti). As a defensive behavior, Florida water snakes will flatten their heads so that they appear thin and triangular, like the tip of a spear. Cottonmouths do not display this behavior, instead coiling up and opening their mouths to display their white mouths (hence the common name, cottonmouth). Cottonmouth heads are more wedge-shaped than spear-shaped. Additionally, young cottonmouths have bright yellow tips on their tails while young water snakes do not.

Regardless of the species encountered, if you see a snake, the best thing to for you and the snake is to leave it alone and walk away .