Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Brown Snake

I'm not one hundred percent on this one, but I believe this is a Brown Snake. The first thing I wanted to determine after I saw it was whether it was venomous or not. I knew that it wasn't poisonous for two reasons: first, the pupils are round and not elliptical (cat-like) and second, there is no 'pit' between the eyes and the nostrils. Both of these characteristics are present in the only venomous snakes found in our area of Appalachia: the Copperhead and the Timber Rattler (click here). Besides the Brown Snake, the other possibility is that it might be a Northern Water Snake, after all, it did slither off this log into the creek -- but their markings are banded and this one is blotched. I checked out two snake identification sites here and here -- and both led me to (hesitantly) conclude that this is a Brown Snake. Anybody out there know if I got this one right or not?


  1. Hi,

    I just stumbled upon your blog after researching the Gray's Lily. I was just writing about it in my blog, I just was on on Roan last night and saw a couple. I really enjoy your pictures.

  2. Hey Great Site,
    Thanks for all the information and photo's. I too have seen a snake identical to this and tried to match photo's online. I believe it is your second choice, the Northwestern Water Snake. As on my property it suns itself on a tree trunk in the middle of my pond. I think my fish population is also dwindling slowly. Thanks Again and Love the Site.
    Lazy Bear Lodge, Roan Mtn. Tenn

  3. Here is an article on poisonous snakes from Mumbai, India. Surprising to learn that such a huge mega city has its share of snakes. Thankfully, antivenin is available locally from Haffkine Institute.

  4. Yes, that's a Northern Water Snake, Nerodia Sipedon. They are banded near the front of their bodies but the bands break up into blotches towards the tail end.
    The most important difference between the two species (Brown and Water Snakes) in my opinion, however, is the fact that Brown snakes almost never bite but N. Water Snakes will bite the crap out of you if you try to grab them! Nice picture btw.

  5. If by brown snake, do you mean Storeria dekayi? If so, they are tiny! I agree with it being Nerodia sipedon.

    ugh, haven't found out how to do italics in comments!

  6. The brown water snake is a large snake with dark brown, squarish blotches running down the center of its lighter brown back. Brown Water Snake prefers large rivers and lakes.


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