#NotesFromTheRiver – Cottonmouth!

Young Cottonmouth or Water Moccasin

Today’s #NotesFromTheRiver post will tell you the easiest way to identify the Florida subspecies of this much-maligned snake, along with a few other interesting tidbits that I suspect will be news to some of you. Hope you’ll take a look, even if you aren’t a snake lover, like I am. It pays to know some of this stuff. πŸ™‚ And please, feel free to share far and wide.

#NotesFromTheRiver – Cottonmouth!

12 thoughts on “#NotesFromTheRiver – Cottonmouth!

    • You did, of course, see the wide cheek stripe that differentiates them from harmless watersnakes, right? πŸ™‚ Just checkin’, since that’s an important part of this post. πŸ˜‰ And yep, cornered in a pool, they’d be very defensive, especially if you were trying to remove them. (A wee bit different than aggression, wherein something is after you for no reason.) But I’m with you, I wouldn’t want to find them in my swimming pool or spa. A lot of trouble to remove them safely. There are professionals who will come do that, though, and relocate them to where they belong.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I know I’m waaaay behind here, but I’ve been savin’ these up for when I had time, and today I had time!
    I’m a snake lover, although I wouldn’t fancy dealing with venomous types, but I still love to look at all varieties, and it makes me so sad when ignorant people kill them just for what they are.
    Live and let live, and leave well alone; don’t kill just because you can. That’s my strong opinion on all things wildlife.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I tend to concur, Debby, though I confess, I have a hard time not running for the 55-gallon drum of RAID when I see a hairy-legged spider. I finally learned to leave them alone outside, and Mark will usually remove any that show up inside for me. But I’m really much more upset by a spider than a snake, any day. Still working on that.

      Pretty much anything else, I’m good with. And most wildlife, I really love. Snakes are fascinating, and like a lot of other things, the more you know about them, the easier it is to enjoy them without fear. I’m glad you are enjoying the posts, and they will be there for you whenever you have the time to scroll through them. πŸ™‚ ❀

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      • Aw, I’m glad you’ve learned to leave those spiders alone, I feel so sorry for them too, getting squished for no reason other than being what they are. I wouldn’t keep one, and I don’t get closer than I have to (I will put them out of the house, using a glass and a piece of card), but I still like to watch them.
        The only beastie I have absolutely no time for (and will squash) are wasps. They are mean and nasty, and not useful in any way I can fathom. Out with wasps!

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        • Well, now, if I have to learn to not hurt spiders, you might have to rethink wasps a bit. They actually have a critical role to play in the environment, you know. They are excellent pollinators, and when we had that colony collapse thing hit our bees, wasps were the only thing that saved some crops. I have them in my garden, and find that if I don’t swat at them and rile them up, they don’t sting me. Now a nest can end up in a bad place and have to be dealt with, because of too much risk of disturbing it, and sending the wasps into a protective frenzy. But other than that, I don’t find them to be exceptionally aggressive, and I have at least four or five species that visit my garden regularly.

          I will say that if I see them on a particular plant, I won’t prune or disturb the plant until they are gone. Unlike bees, which work right alongside me, maybe only 3 inches or so from the flowers I’m deadheading, etc. That’s closer than most wasps are comfortable with. Also, we have one variety that builds a tiny paper nest, only about 2″ across, with maybe six cells for larva. Those get hidden under big leaves, and accidentally jostling one means trouble. But I’ve only seen two of those since we moved into this house 14 years ago. We mostly have much larger ones. I stay five or six feet away, and they do their thing while I do mine.

          The other factor is, I’d rather be stung by a wasp than bitten by a spider. Spider bites can be NASTY, necrotic things that take forever to heal. Put some meat tenderizer on a wasp sting, and some ice afterward, and they go away pretty quickly.

          There. Now don’t you feel all LOVING and KIND toward wasps now? NO????? Well, I tried. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

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          • Hm, I’ll try to remember that next time I’m sitting in a judge’s box with wasps doing their best to disturb ME! They always seem to be determined to hand around my hair (I guess the colour) and I once stuck my hands into some rubbish to move it, not realising they’d moved in, and even though I ran for it, they followed me and stung my arms to bits. Took over a week before I could put shirt sleeves on again as the skin hurt too much to touch. I don’t have a clue what meat tenderizer is, and I certainly don’t have access to any when I’m at the yard or a show 😦

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            • For future reference, I didn’t mean a big mallet for pounding steak, though it would certainly flatten wasps, too. If you could catch ’em. I was referring to a product like “Accent” by McCormick which you shake on meat before cooking. It is sold in the spice section of the grocery store, and it contains MSG, or monosodium glutamate. It used to be used widely in Asian cooking to increase flavor, too, but that practice has stopped, because even though it is a natural amino acid, some people are sensitive to consuming too much of it in foods. But if you make a paste of it and apply to stings, it kills the pain really quickly. It’s sort of amazing how fast it works. And it’s cheap and readily available at your grocery store.

              American Health Institute suggested mixing 1/4 teaspoon of tenderizer with 1 teaspoon of water to make a paste. (Of course, if you have lots of stings, you’d want more.) Smearing this on a bee or wasp sting relieves the pain very quickly. I’ve also heard of mixing it with vinegar, but I’ve never tried it.

              If you get attacked in a certain area like that, why don’t they clean out any local wasp nests ahead of time, to prevent the issue? Just wondering. However, I would certainly be the first to say getting multiple stings from wasps is NOT a good experience. You could try carrying a shaker of Accent or other brand of MSG in your purse, maybe? At least, if you get stung, you could mix some water into it and apply for first aid. It really does work like a charm.

              Of course, prevention is a better option. I have visions of you sitting in your judging stand, swathed in beekeeper’s netting. 😯 It could be your hair product that draws them, too. Bees and mosquitoes are pulled in by scent. Not sure about wasps. But when camping, you aren’t supposed to wear scented products, if you can help it, so you don’t attract insects.

              You do have a special problem, for sure, and I hope you can find a way to avoid getting stung. But if not, you should ALWAYS have MSG on hand. In a pinch, a baking soda paste will help, too, but MSG is far, far better. Good luck!!!

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              • BTW, if you don’t already know this, waving your hands around to scare off wasps is kind of like waving a red flag in front of a bull. They interpret that as an attack on them, and go into a defensive frenzy of stinging. I remember once having lunch at an outdoor diner in the mountains, and 3 or 4 wasps were checking out our colas. My friend went into full on yelling and swatting mode, while I froze. I tried to tell her to sit still, but she was scared. The wasps went right for her, and ignored me. This isn’t always easy, but freezing instantly can really help prevent a sting.

                Of course, at an event with lots of people, or if you disturb their nest, the wasps might already be in defense mode, and freezing won’t help. So protective clothing and MSG are still very good ideas. Keep some Accent in your pantry or medicine cabinet for first aid at home, and carry some with you to your shows. And I really do wish you luck. As well as I get along with them in my garden, I wouldn’t want to push my luck in the wrong situation.


              • Yes, I was picturing a mallet… πŸ˜€
                I will investigate, though obviously products in UK stores are different to US, and MSG is frowned upon.
                I don’t use any products on my hair, apart from shampoo and that only once a week, so I’m still thinking its the colour that attracts them. That, and the fact that the worst venue has the boxes immediately behind a laurel hedge, and they definitely like that!

                Liked by 1 person

                • Even shampoo leaves a scent on hair, but it could be the color as well. Whatever it is, I can see you would want to deal with it. No, most Asian restaurants now advertise NO MSG in their products, but it is still for sale, because it is safe for most people, I believe. Unless you are allergic to it, it shouldn’t be a problem. It’s like peanuts. So you don’t want to eat at a restaurant that uses it in the prepared food, because you wouldn’t know. But buying it to use yourself, knowing you don’t have issues with it, is okay. I’ve never bothered with it, myself. If I buy steaks, I look for something well-marbled and presumably tender. If I buy tougher cuts, I slow cook them, etc.

                  But truly, MSG is wonderful on stings. You should check your grocery and see if it is sold there. (Your bigger name spice companies would be the ones to offer it, I imagine). If you are only going to use it for emergency stings, a shaker of it should last a long time. If not, make a paste with baking soda and slather it over the stings. That should help at least some.

                  And I hereby send you good vibes meant to ensure you don’t get any more. EVER. πŸ™‚

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