One thing that drives me nuts is how people assume all snakes that live in or around water are Water Moccasins. I have personally captured well over 300 water snakes in the time I have spent hunting reptiles. Of those 300 I have only come across 4 Water Moccains. The three most common Texas Water Snakes I have come across are the Diamond Back Water Snakes, the Blotched Water Snake and the Water Moccasins.
Diamond Back Watersnake
The Diamond Back Watersnake is the largest of the three species I am going to talk about. The Diamond Back Watersnake reaches close to 6 feet in length and specimens between 4 and 5 feet are quite common. These snakes are found around any type of water in Texas. I have captured them in lakes, ponds, rivers and even in my koi pond in the back yard. They eat fish, frogs, crayfish and anything else around the water. The Diamond Back Watersnake is normally grey in color with broken black stripes going across the body. Diamond Back Watersnakes are aggressive when cornered or disturbed. They will attempt to bite you if you handle them. They do not really hurt when they bite but it will bleed quite a bit. After handling one for a few minutes it will generally calm down and stop biting.
The Blotched Watersnake reaches nearly the same size as the Diamond Back Watersnake. Blotched Watersnakes are a light brown color with thick dark brown bars going across their backs. Specimens reach 5 to 6 feet. I regularly catch Blotched Watersnakes around 4 feet long. These snakes co-exist with the Diamond Back Watersnake. Both species eat the same diet of fish, amphibians and crawfish. Blotched Watersnakes will bite when threatened but will not do any real harm. This species will relax after handling and can be gentle once they have had time to calm down.
The Water Moccasin is the only poisonous water snake. Water Moccasins are also known as Cottonmouths. They get this name because when threatened they coil up and open their mouths. The mouth is a bright white color and looks similar to cotton. The Water Moccasin is venomous and will require a trip to the hospital if bitten. Water Moccasins have a wide range of color. Some specimens are almost black in color while others are a light brown or tan. Water Moccasins have solid dark color bars running across there backs. Water Moccasins also have a cat shaped pupil. All non-venomous snakes in the United States have round eyes. The Coral snake which is venomous also has round shaped eyes. The Water Moccasin feeds are the same food that the Diamond Back Water Snake and the Blotched Watersnake feed on. Fish, amphibians and rodents.