MIRAMAR, Fla. – Residents are concerned after a number of venomous water moccasins, or cottonmouths, have been spotted in communities in western Broward County in recent weeks.
Miramar resident Eric Misch spotted a snake hiding under a rock in his front yard not long ago. Shortly after he killed it, his neighbor reported finding another one outside her home.
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Many people in western Broward County are sharing the same concerns online, detailing their snake stories and more water moccasin sightings nearby.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission:
- Water moccasins’ venom is very potent
- They are found throughout the state in wet areas: lakes, marshes, swamps
- They would much rather avoid encounters and usually will flee
- Frequent sightings usually indicate the presence of rodents
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It is a common myth to say poisonous when it comes to snakes. However as explained in the above graphic– snakes are not poisonous, they are venomous. So to answer the question, how to tell if a snake is poisonous or not, we will have to re-state the question. How do you tell if a snake is venomous or not?
A snake that has heat-sensing pits is venomous. What are heat sensing pits? They are holes in the snakes’ faces that are called pit organs. These organs have a membrane that has heat sensitive receptors that can detect infrared radiation from warm bodies up to one meter away. (Just over 3′) As a result, these snakes can detect prey even in the dark. They are known the venomous snakes known as “PIT VIPERS.”
Triangular heads is another common trait in many venomous snakes. For example, the rattlesnake, copperhead, and water moccasin all have arrowhead-shaped faces. Also, if you are close enough to see—- PIT VIPERS also have pupils that are oblong, like a slit.
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There is one native snake in Florida that is venomous yet does not fit the above description because it is not a Viper. That is the CORAL snake. It is not a PIT VIPER as are the above, but rather is from a family of snakes called the ELAPIDS. For further info on the CORAL SNAKE please read this article.
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