Watch: Snake Gives Live Birth!
Traditionally, people think of all snakes as reptiles which ‘lay eggs’; in about 70% of cases, this would be true.
The GIF below depicts what some Reddit users speculate to be a Northern Water Snake. Like a Water Moccasin or copperhead, the species is ovoviviparous, meaning that it gives birth to live young. The main difference between the water snake and a copperhead is in the venom: While a copperhead is considered a pit viper and is one of the only venomous water snakes in North America, the Northern Water Snake is nonvenomous and will merely inflict a nasty bite.
Northern Water Snake Gets A Bad Wrap
The Northern Water Snake is often killed because it looks so much like a Water Moccasin. Because of this, numerous efforts to save the water snake have been implemented over the past decade to offset human interference in their natural habitats. In 1999, the Lake Erie Watersnake was listed as ‘threatened’ on the endangered species list before a recovery plan was implemented by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Due to their diligent efforts, the watersnake population doubled by 2007 and is no longer on the list.
Key Differences Between the Northern Water Snake and a Water Moccasin
The Northern Water Snake and a Water Moccasin (Copperhead) have numerous distinguishing traits. According to the University of Florida Department of Wildlife and Ecology, “The water snake has a longer, more slender body and a flattened head the same width as the neck with round pupils and no heat-sensing pits. The Water Moccasin has a fatter body, a wedge-shaped head with prominent venom glands that is wider than the neck, cat-like pupils and heat-sensing pits between the eyes and the nostrils.”
As Northern Water Snake populations recover in Lake Erie and in other places, the threat of human interference still continues.
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