Cottonmouth vs Water Snake!

Cottonmouth vs Water Snake!

– I’m Coyote Peterson. Right now we’re hiking in
the southern swamps of Texas, which is home to two
different water snake species. One is venomous, and one is not. If your life depended on it, would you be able to
tell the difference? (dramatic music) Stick around, ’cause
we’re about to show ya. (dramatic jungle music) (animal growling) As the sun cut through the
tops of the cypress trees, I carefully made my
way into the swamp. Every step counts when
you’re in the back country of south Texas. And as my boots slowly splashed
through the dark water, my focus was completely in
tune with the environment. I knew that it was only
a matter of time before I would find the one
reptile that most people are terrified of. Ah. – [Cameraman] Hey, what
are you looking for? – Snakes, and nothing yet. You know, most people are
out there and they’re hiking and they stumble upon snakes
when they don’t expect to. Me, I’m always lookin’ for ’em. But if you do come
across one in the wild, I think it’s really important
to identify the species. A lot of times you have
a non-venomous snake that will look like
a venomous one. Unfortunately, these
non-venomous snakes are then vilified
as being venomous and a lot of times they
end up being killed. My goal today is to catch
one non-venomous snake and one venomous snake
so we can show you the distinct differences
between the two. Ah, it’s a long search
out here in the swamps. I’m not givin’ up. We are gonna find some snakes. (water splashing) (suspenseful music) (dramatic music) (yelling) Yes! Yes! Check it out. Okay, little bitey,
little bitey. Ah, ah, ah, ah,
he’s got my finger. Ouch! Ah, good news for me, though, is that this one
is non-venomous. Bring it up in the
light, check that out. That is a broad-banded
water snake. Woo, okay. That is half of the
equation right there. Watch your GoPro. He’s trying to bite ya. Well, that’s the safe one. Now we gotta find the moccasin. Whew, awesome! Man, definitely got my thumb. A bite from this one and
I’m gonna be just fine. But the other snake
we’re lookin’ for? The water mocassin? If that attacked my thumb, we wouldn’t be gettin’ shots. We’d be on our way
to the hospital. Look at that. Let me get ’em real close
for your camera there. Woah! – [Cameraman] He’s bitey. Beautiful snake. – Okay, cool. Well, let’s keep
searching for moccasins. (dramatic music) You do not wanna do
is just accidentally step on a venomous snake. This is definitely
moccasin territory. There’s a moccasin right there. Okay, come up slow. – [Cameraman] Where? – Right up against
the side of that tree. – [Cameraman] Oh, I see. – Wow, look at how big it is. Okay, now this it the real deal. Stay back. (exhaling) Okay. Stay a couple steps back out. Now, they usually
move pretty slow. I’m gonna try to hook
it and bring it up here on the path. You ready? – [Cameraman] Yup. Careful. (dramatic music) – Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh. Startle. (dramatic music) – [Cameraman] Careful. – Got it by the tail,
got it by the tail. Okay, there we go. Do not wanna take a
bite from this snake. That one will send
ya to the hospital. Okay, bringing it
up on the path here. Wow, okay. Ooh, rattle in the
tail a little bit. That is a defensive sign. Okay. Ah, ah, ah, tss, tss, tss, tss. It should just stop for us. Come here, come here. There we go. All right, what we need
to do now is just get the snake under control
so that we can get it up close for the cameras. Let me move it back
a little bit here. Ha, my nerves are goin’. Just looking into
the water there and that’s how well
these things camouflage. I just saw it out of
the corner of my eye, just an obscure shape
up against that cypress. And that’s what
these snakes will do. You don’t often see
them slithering about like you would a water snake. They’ll often be just like this, curled up in a ball somewhere
trying to stay camouflaged, trying to stay away from
any potential predators. Then again, if you were
gonna try to eat this snake, you better be quick
because if you’re tagged by those fangs, you are going
to be in a world of trouble. Now this is a water moccasin, but they are famously
known as cottonmouths. And watch this. I’ll get the snake
to open its mouth and you’ll see
that white throat. Look at that. That is a defensive, woah, see? And look, he got the
tail goin’ now, too. You see that? Mimicking a rattlesnake,
saying I am venomous. Yes, we know that
you are venomous. I can actually see
the fangs tucked back. Woo, I am drippin’ bullets
of sweat right now. Let me back up a touch. Okay, well perfect. We have the two snake
species that are indigenous to this habitat. A water moccasin and a
broad-banded water snake. One venomous, one that is not. Stick around and we’ll
show you which is which. Wow. Check this out. Completely calm now
considering the fact just a few minutes ago
this snake was doing everything it could to
bite me and get away. This is the broad-banded
water snake. And look at this
incredibly calm demeanor. Now I noticed the same thing
with Lake Erie water snakes and northern water snakes. At first it’s all
about fight or flight. If they can’t get away
and you catch ’em, they immediately
try to bite you. Now the good news for
me, like I said before, is that this is a
non-venomous species. – [Cameraman] So how
big do the snakes get? I mean, do these
snakes get as big as a northern water snake? – Yeah, they do. I would say this is
about average size for one of these snakes. It is I’d say about two
and a half feet in length. But they can grow out to
be about three and a half or four feet at a maximum size. Females are larger
than the males, and I do believe it’s a
male, looking at its cloaca. Yeah, you’re a handsome
fella, aren’t ya? Now, these snakes are
often misidentified. People see them near the water and they automatically
think it’s a water moccasin. This is a very common
species all across the southeastern United States. And the reason people mistake
it for a water moccasin is mostly the fact that A,
it’s right by the water, and B, the coloration. I’m gonna turn the
snake just a little bit. You see all that dark
brown that runs the length of the body? And then that faded
banding looks just like a younger water moccasin. But then of course if
you flip the snake over and look at its belly, look at all that
copper checkering. You will not find that
on a water moccasin. And not that you’d
ever necessarily see the belly of the snake, but I just think that that’s
really, really cool lookin’. Ho, ho, this is
actually the first time I have caught this
species of snake. And it is just so
incredibly calm right now. I cannot believe how
comfortable this snake has gotten with us, and we’ve only been handling
it for a few minutes. Oh, but it did musk on me. There you go. See that white stuff
on my hand right there? – [Cameraman] Ew. – Oh, yeah, it stinks. That is another
defense mechanism. Poop on a potential predator
if it’s trying to eat me. All right, but I’m
not gonna eat you. Don’t worry. We could just hang
out and be friends. Wow, this snake is so cool. Well, I think at this
juncture we should bring out the water moccasin. I’m gonna hand the
snake off to Mario. He’s gonna bring
in the moccasin. This is gonna be a
little more dangerous. Hopefully we’ll get that
snake to just calm down on the ground and we’ll get
the cameras up close for it so we can show you the
distinct field markings of that snake. All right, you ready? – [Mario] Yup. – All right, now we’re gonna
bring in the water moccasin. Ah, just keep your
wits about you ’cause this is going to be
slightly more dangerous. Okay, let me bring it over here. Come here, come here, come here. – [Cameraman] Slightly
is an understatement. – [Coyote] Yeah. I got it, I got it, I got it. Sling it in under. Hold on, let me get her to stop. Shht, shht. There we go. – [Cameraman] So, Coyote,
the water snake you just held had anticoagulant in its saliva. This snake has venom. What would this snake do to you? – This snake would, depending
on how your body reacted, it could potentially kill you. There are not many
reported deaths from water moccasin bites. However, that venom
is incredibly toxic and it will break down
your red blood cells. You could lose a finger, you could lose your hand. Let’s just put it this way. If I’m tagged by this snake, we are leaving the
scene and we are heading to the hospital. So I need to be extra
careful right now. Mark, we’ve got you a
couple feet past the snake. We’ve got Mario
just off camera here making sure if the
snake makes a move, he can keep it away
from you, Mark. But other than that, if we just stay
calm and collected just like this in
front of the snake, we should be just fine. You see, the snake’s
not trying to flee. It’s just keeping itself
low to the ground, its body spread. Look how wide and
girthy that snake is. Now these snakes,
like the banded water
snakes, are aquatic. However, they do not dive
down under water to hunt. You will see them
occasionally moving from pocket of water to
pocket of water, but they usually are
hunting on the embankment. These snakes do not have
rattles like rattlesnakes and they rely on their
camouflage to keep them hidden. A lot of times people will
be walking down a trail, you accidentally
step on the snake, and that’s how you are bitten. This snake has no
interest in chasing or hurting humans. If you just admire this
animal from a safe distance, you’re gonna be just fine. Okay, so the most important
part of this episode is that we want to
show you a comparison of this snake next to the
broad-banded water snake. Now to do that I’m
going to have to get the water moccasin
under control, which means I’m gonna
use my snake hook to gently pin its head and
then pick the snake up. Mario’s gonna bring in the
broad-banded water snake, we’re gonna put
them side-by-side, and show you the
distinct field marks so that you can properly
identify these snakes if you ever come across
them in the wild. – [Mark] Should we
get in for a shot? – [Coyote] I am gently going
to get position of her head just like this. There we go. I want my fingers just
behind the head like that. – [Mark] This is the
most dangerous thing you can do with
a venomous snake. – Yup. Never, ever, ever do what
you see me doing here. I’ll get full
control of the body. There we go. Yeah, well you notice
my hand is shaking. Now never, ever, ever try
to pick up a venomous snake like you just saw me do. The only reason that
I headed this snake is so that we can
get both of these right next to each other. I’ve got a gentle yet
firm grip on the back of her head just
behind the venom glands and full control of the body. You won’t see me
moving too much more for this scene. I just kind of gotta collect
my nerves, stay calm. Mario, go ahead and bring in
the broad-banded water snake. – [Mario] There we go. – Cool. – Lookin’ a little nervous. – Little bit. Kind of have a dangerous
snake here in my hand. She’s calmed down a bit. You can see her tongue’s
flickin’ out now, so that’s good. She’s not trying to
expose her fangs. Now the water moccasin,
because it it a pit viper and it has these two
massive venom glands, has a very
triangular-shaped head. You pan over to the
broad-banded water snake, and its head is
actually very narrow. However, when these
broad-banded water snakes are threatened, they
will flatten their heads and puff them up, forming
them into a triangle, which often times causes
people to misidentify them for water moccasins. It’s good news for the snake
if it draws off a predator, but it’s bad news if
that predator’s a human, and then unfortunately
that snake usually ends up being killed. Hoo, sorry, a little nervous. Let’s look on the heads as
well at the snake’s eye. So I’m just gonna slightly turn. – [Mario] I’ll move,
you stay there. – Okay, okay. You’ll notice that
the water moccasin has a vertical pupil while
the broad-banded water snake has a circular pupil. I don’t imagine anybody
out there watching is ever gonna get
face-to-face with either of these snake species, but if you happen upon one
and you see a vertical pupil, you know it’s a
moccasin and you know that it’s venomous. Now the last difference on
the face of these snakes is the fact that the water
moccasin is a pit viper. Now right up front there
you’ll see a nostril and just behind that
you see another hole in-between the
nostril and the eye. That is the heat-sensing
pit which allows these snakes to detect
not only their prey, but potential predators
in the environment. Now when you look at the
broad-banded water snake, you’ll notice that it
does not have pits, just eyes and nostrils. When you look at these
two snakes overhead, you can see how similar
they are in coloration. Now the broad-banded water
snake has more distinct banding, but if you were to
just see these snakes at a quick glance, they are pretty similar-looking. But you’ll notice that
the water moccasin has a much girthier
flattened body as compared to the
banded water snake. Look at that
difference right there. – [Mark] But their
scales look similar. – [Coyote] They do, don’t they? And both species have
rough keeled scales which allows them to
quickly be able to move through this rugged environment. – [Mark] Can we see the bellies? I know that’s another
big difference. – Yup. – [Mark] Wow, look at that. – Yup, now you’re never
likely to see the belly of these two snakes
next to each other, but as you can see, the banded water snake is
beautiful and checkered, and the water moccasin
is just kind of plain and cream-colored. Not that that makes the
snake any less special. (Mario sniffing) – I smell something, Coyote. – You do. I smell that same thing. Both of these snakes
right now are musking, which is a final defense
tactic in the event that something
tries to eat them. That musk is coming out
of their bottom ends, and if you’re a predator
and you get that in your mouth, it
tastes really bad. So as you can tell, these snakes have many
different defenses against potential predators. For everyone out there watching, we want you to know
that these two snakes are very difficult
to distinguish from one another. And if you see a snake
out there in the wild, definitely treat it
as if it’s venomous. If it’s a moccasin
and you take a bite, you’re gonna be in
a lot of trouble. So it’s best to just
always admire these animals from a safe distance. I’m Coyote Peterson. Be brave! Stay wild. We’ll see you on
the next adventure. All right, you
ready to let ’em go? – Let’s do it. – Back into the wild
with these snakes. Working with snakes
is one of the most dangerous aspects of this job, and the reason I do
it is so that we can learn about these
incredible animals and hopefully walk away
with a newfound respect for even the ones
that we are afraid of. If you thought this
episode was fascinating, make sure to go back
and watch as Mario and I compared an
alligator to a crocodile. And don’t forget, subscribe, so you can join me and
the crew on this season of Breaking Trail. (animal growling) (birds chirping)

Randy Schultz

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100 thoughts on “Cottonmouth vs Water Snake!

  1. Kyler Rogers says:

    10:20, Oh, you got your mouth open for the ground. Okay, shoves snake face in the ground so it can bite it.

  2. Kyler Rogers says:

    Maybe, you can put tape over the cottonmouth's head.

  3. Nathaniel Rice says:

    Snake killer

  4. Love Dirksen says:

    If it’s all black that’s not the Venegas one

  5. Nathan Taylor says:

    The water snake is gorgeous!

  6. Nikki Bellinger says:


  7. anankae says:

    "Now that is a moccasin but they're famously known as cottonmouths"? Dude. That is a cottonmouth. Cottonmouth is the correct name. They are incorrectly known as water moccasins. Also you're in Southeast Texas, not South Texas. But thank you for showing us one, very cool.

  8. CrowKYS says:

    i know you only comparing the snakes, but just gotta say for those who still belive that vertical pupils means venomous. it is not the case. It just means that it is nightactive while the watersnake with round pupils is active at daytime

  9. Dylon Kelly says:

    You are brave

  10. Mr. Slothy-G says:

    God I miss Steve Irwin. Just cant enjoy anyone else sadly.

  11. Moustapha Al-moulla says:

    they are both reptiles

  12. hcwbw3 says:

    excellent video

  13. wolfyschans official official says:

    Why do u that it's effective u get bite

  14. Lupe Cua says:

    Can i have one

  15. Jonathan Santillano says:

    I’m from Texas I’ve lived in Texas most my life and I gotta say this guy has Damascus steel balls. I would not be doing all that and I’ve always lived in the county.

  16. TheMiniME - Fortnite and more says:

    The water snake is so cute

  17. sandeep kaur says:


  18. NovaTex says:

    This is like a snake review hahaha

  19. Fuzzy Rainy Tiger 0 says:

    I saw a water snake in my old and broken pool now home to frogs I was frog catching because the water was dirty and I wanted to save one until I saw a stick or so I thought pop out of the water I looked at it until the tongue came out of its mouth I was so out

  20. System who? says:

    9:44 just look at them eyes

  21. Ms.Lovely_ lxi says:

    Can we all just take a moment and think about Coyote’s wet socks

  22. WG Wolf says:

    i thot the snaks wher going to fite

  23. Lanie Gullickson says:

    couldn't you tell the difference by their eyes? poisonous snakes have a like diamond pupil and the non- venomous snakes have a circle pupil???

  24. Rachel As She Paints says:

    Spade- shaped head and slitted pupils.

  25. NotUsingMyName says:

    yeah but how did he let go of the moccasin's head without getting bit?

  26. claudia delgado says:


  27. Chelsea says:


  28. Sarah Setta says:

    Thank you for your vids. A watersnake was in my florida downtown area by the gulf bay off the woodsy river and everyone freaked out it was a cottonmouth. They were seriously calling for a pitchfork mob, but it was your video that helped calm a few nerves. And because you did a service and made a big deal about the belly banding on the watersnake, everyone relaxed even more because they recognized it on our little park visitor. Thanks for helping save a rat killer snakes life.

  29. Over Reality says:

    3:12 what is that music

  30. Madeline McConville says:

    Me: ahh let’s watch coyote before I go to bed

    The start of video: *snake terrifying the soul out of me:


  31. Haley Phillips says:

    Coyote:oh oh no sksksks
    Me:and I oop sksk😂

  32. Troy Irizarry says:


  33. Mosesn N M says:

    I would never get wet because im a cat lol

  34. SuperGoldenBoy says:

    water sheep

  35. Johanna Isbell says:

    He’s a vsco girl lol sksksksks

  36. Jahed Ali says:

    Dude:ah ah ah s s s

  37. X Purple says:

    top 10 anime fights its here!!!

  38. Jane Hadwen says:

    I saw snakes but they were in cages yesterday as in Saturday the 24th at the Patton was ill and I was careful that they wouldn't get out so I also divorce of spiders so I kind a got a little scared there for the one so I hope that will work poison now and I'll be fine

  39. Nilantha Vishvanath says:

    Great video. If you are interested in getting to know Sri Lankan wildlife, check out and subscribe to our channel

  40. DumberThanYou Jaylen Forrest says:

    I don't know why I keep replaying 1:53


  41. Wehix Animations says:

    I like that you guys respect those snakes and place them right where you took em +1 respect

  42. praise music says:

    I LOVE YOU VERY MUCH BLESS YOU AND thank you for being the best

  43. Kristin Wolfe says:

    Why just why

  44. Byron Mulhern says:

    Do a snake video with Jacob feder

  45. Mona Vincent says:

    0:14 who else jumped

  46. Satanic Minecrafter666 says:

    I love snakes🥰👌

  47. immastealyouchains ripxxx says:

    who else is watching this in 2019

  48. Natalie Borzone says:

    who els saw the walking stick at 8:21?

  49. Zane Kaltenbaugh says:

    What cameraman will go out here with him he’s nuts

  50. Ling Ly says:

    Why can’t you just let them be and leave them alone they want to have a life with out you bothering them!!!!!!! Ur going to get bit 1 day

  51. Ivette Boyzo says:


  52. Sauceonmac says:

    What are you doing in my swamp?

  53. DannyC Adventures says:

    2:44 yo he just rolled the snaked up and walked off with it

  54. Kerry Koekoek says:

    i did

  55. Shyann Knotts says:

    I hate your videos because you put yourself at risk and other people at riskt

  56. Shyann Knotts says:

    I'm sorry I have to say that I hate your videos I love your videos a little bit because you don't put yourself at risk that often but I hate when you put yourself at risk that often you get bit by things I got bit by a lot of things that you do not want to know about

  57. Rida A says:

    Wow that Water Moccasin has such a intimidating yet beautiful face. Love its eyes.

  58. Spider boi says:

    Anyone hear Coyote going Sksksks while catching that non-Venomous snake? Coyote is a Vsco Girl

  59. Joel ‘S random stuff says:

    2:25 HAHAH GOT ‘EM

  60. WW C says:

    Water snake: So, cottonmouth, how’s your day?
    Cottonmouth: Well I being held by this human.
    Water snake: Same, but I bit him😃
    Cottonmouth: But you aren’t venomous.
    Water snake: Why didn’t you bite him?
    Cottonmouth: Uhhhhhhh…

  61. baloghlcb says:

    So if something ever tries to catch and eat me I should poo, check!

  62. Landon Bonomini says:

    You shouldn’t grab them by the head like that they have fragile bones by there head it can hurt them.

  63. Nowylover! says:

    Laughs nervously in floridian

  64. Lauren Johnston says:

    mario what is that

  65. Layla Haas says:

    Coyote is a Vsco girl lol
    Him: ay ay ay skskskkss

  66. Celestra Oceans says:

    I did
    Like if you did lol

  67. Salt Apple says:

    This guy could turn a walk on a trail into a search for the wildest things

  68. Bobon Meiknob says:

    I swatted a swimming moccasin from my kayak, that thing chased me like a wraith from hell for 50 yards. Don't ever do that. LOL

  69. John Jerkhoff says:

    Steve irwin said never to pick it up by its head like that. They have sensitive spine

  70. Voice of Reason says:

    In iowa by the river water snakes will come up and pop their head out and look at you. It's very cute

  71. TSC Metrix says:

    4:03 is he a vsco girl?

  72. Michal Klíma says:

    You crazy 😶

  73. silver scape says:

    The water mocasin was in shed so its vision was greatly affected. That could be a good or bad thing. Luckily it was good for you this time.

  74. vEn om says:

    im hopeless…
    they all look the same to me 😭

  75. Idk1wut2to3do12 CF says:

    Lol at 4:04 he says to the snake “sksksksk” VSCO

  76. Ifoto says:

    I was watching this and a spider fell in front of my screen

  77. Karen salazar says:

    I like water so I will go with water snake

  78. Fellow 9yr old gamer says:

    4:03 vsco girls be like

  79. Kian Aghasadeh says:

    4:03 where are all the vsco girls

  80. ryuk says:

    If anyone's wondering, snake bites don't hurt to bad. But if your bit by a snake it's most likely going to bleed a whole lot. That's because they have a special something in their saliva (please forgive me, I forgot what it was called) and that makes you bleed way more than normal. For an example I got bit by my ball python, there wasn't very much blood but when I was bit by a garter snake I was swimming in blood.

  81. Sophia’s World says:

    I never watch your videos

  82. Christin Huckleby says:

    no wonder his name is BRAVE willderness

  83. Derrick Hess says:

    Hey I have a banded water snake as a pet. Turns out they all don't need a male to breed. My virgin just had 10 babies, live birth!

  84. MightyJuri GT says:

    4:03 coyote is a vsco girl sksksks and i oop and i oop

  85. kitKatkatty says:

    4:19 the snake had made a huhh sound 😂😭😭😭

  86. Lil Debbie says:

    I found a pretty big water snake on my front porch last Friday. The video of it is on my channel. Anyways I was told by my local animal control that it was a giant water moccasin, which I didn’t not agree with after my research. I ended up leaving it alone. Later that night I found another one, a smaller one, that apparently lives behind the brick on front porch, because I’ve seen him every night since then, poking his head out of the hole then slitting back when I shine the flashlight on it.
    My backyard in TN backs up to a creek on a nature preserve, so there is a good bit of wildlife around here.

  87. Jay Elkins says:

    i don't like snakes

  88. Mr Awesome says:

    Wow I didn't know Taylor Swift had a twin sister

  89. braylen Blackwell says:

    Xd me!

  90. Brooklyn brothers says:

    My baby corn snake has the same pattern on his belly as the water snake

  91. Chikin ;-; says:

    4:03 damn vscos

  92. 22GALAXY GIRL22 says:

    Let’s just say that the cute one is non venomous while the scary one is venomous

  93. Devon Winter says:

    You past one on the way to find snakes

  94. -Saturn Gacha- says:

    Theres a river close to my house and theres always snakes in it ;-; Thats why I'm in my house whole summer..

  95. NickOnPC says:

    Pretty tamed “wild” water snake u got there

  96. thunderboys you says:

    How snake battle like this if you like snakes

  97. Brian Peck says:

    also the Cottonmouths float high in the water while the water snakes float low and spend more time under water. When the water is calm and shallow i like to walk barefoot and sometimes the Moccasins will swim right by me. Never feel like they are out to get me. Found a colorful Cottonmouth baby that i got onto a stick. I was hoping it might crawl onto me but it just licked my thumb, turned around and went to her side of the stick. I free handled a Western Diamondback allowing it to slide through my hands into a bush and never stopping it from having control. Then i found out just how expensive a bite is to treat! no more until i get insured.

  98. TTV.NaNiBTW says:

    While he is out hunting venomous snakes, im scared of a spider on a wall across from me.

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