A small, secretive, shiny snake that is highly variable in color. It can be gray, brown, orange or even red with or without dark bands, and it has a plain white or cream colored belly with dark transverse bars on the tail.
Many people mistakenly believe that any snake seen in or near the water is this venomous “water moccasin.” But there are seven species of nonvenomous, semi-aquatic snakes found in Missouri. Harmless watersnakes vastly outnumber the much-feared cottonmouths. All are protected by law.
This is a marsh-dwelling member of the ratsnake group. General color is yellowish, greenish-brown or tan, with large brown blotches on the back and smaller ones on the sides. Its status in Missouri is rare.
This harmless swamp-dweller is sometimes called the “hoop snake” or the “stinging snake” based on misinformation and imaginative folklore. In the case of this snake, it turns out that fact is more interesting than fiction.
One of the smallest rattlesnakes on the continent, this species has a thin tail and a tiny rattle. The sound of the vibrating rattle is a faint buzz that is like the sound of a grasshopper. It's found in some Missouri counties bordering with Arkansas and in the eastern Missouri Ozarks.
This medium-sized watersnake is named for its yellow belly. Its coloration is mainly gray or greenish with little or no pattern. This species is found throughout southeastern Missouri and north along the Mississippi River floodplain.
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