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Do all "water moccasins" have fangs?

Naturalists and biologists usually don't like to use the name "water moccasin" because it can refer to different species of snakes in different parts of the country. That is why scientists use the latin name system. In much of the southern United States the local name water moccasin usually means the same as "cottonmouth" which is a poisonous snake and therefore has fangs. Once in a while someone may call a "copperhead" which is another southern poisonous snake a moccasin too, but copperheads are more upland snakes and not that often near water. The real confusion comes with the non-poisonous water snakes. There are several different species in different parts of the country, they look a lot alike and many people fear they are poisonous and call them "water moccasins," but they are not poisonous, and therefore do not have fangs.

J. Elliott

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