That's it in the water tank there. And he's packing it away with his artificial hand in the picture below.
He had a tank of water and he showed us that it is very easy to tell the difference between the cottonmouth and other varieties of water snake. The water snake will have it's head poking up out of the water and it's body will be submerged. The cottonmouth's whole body floats on top of the water, it can even coil into striking position while in the water. Also, cottonmouths are black and white, and water snakes are brown and green with yellow bellies. And, one more difference is that water snakes want to skedaddle away from you as quickly as possible. If you just stop still they will get away from you as quickly as possible. Water mocassins use camouflage though, so if you see a water mocassin just continue on your merry way, it does not want to hurt you, it just wants you to not notice it.
Harmless and beautiful garter snake, very common around Austin.
Hognose snake. He told us that people will often call him and say that there is a cobra loose in their backyard. There are no cobras in the U.S, obviously! I'll just quote the website about this snake's interesting characteristics: "
This is a diamond back water snake. Non-venomous, of course. Do you know the difference between something that is poisonous and something that is venomous? Poisionous: you have to eat it or touch it. Venomous: it has to inject venom into you. Thusly, there are no poisonous snakes, only venomous ones.
Texas cooter, a very common Texas turtle.
They have loo-o-o-o-ong necks. All the better for lunging out and snapping you, my dear!
I should have video-ed this, but he was demonstrating a fake out technique that the Texas rat snake has. It makes a rattling noise and people think it's a rattlesnake.
Rat snakes have lots of great qualities and Tim really wants to help people get clear about their benefits. They eat rats, and they compete with rattlesnakes for food so they prevent rattlesnakes from setting up shop in your yard, as well. Also from the website: "
All of Texas's most venomous snakes in one neatly-labeled little bundle! Eek!He told us that the famous rhyme about coral snakes vs. milk snakes is actually not that important to remember, as there are no milk snakes around Austin. You could ONLY encounter a deadly coral snake! But deadly.... no need to worry about that too much, really. They have such tiny mouths and tiny fangs that it is nearly impossible for them to bite you. No one has ever died from a coral snake bite in Texas. He said that the only person he'd ever known to be bitten by a coral snake had been handling one with no caution whatsoever for over an hour, and even then, no antivenin was required because the coral snake didn't inject any venom in, just bit. Interesting. He said if you see a coral snake, just sit back and watch it and enjoy. They're pretty rare to see and it's a treat.
Rattlesnakes are indeed our most common and dangerous snake. He said if you don't want these around, don't have food from them to eat. Don't have any woodpiles or stuff like that where rodents can live. Remove the food source and they aren't going to have any reason to linger in your yard.
Copperheads are also not at all common in Austin, though you might see one out in Elgin or Bastrop. If you want to keep them away, also just get rid of the wood piles and junk piles in your yard where tasty rodents hide out.
Your friendly neighborhood Rat Snake.
It was not very expensive at all to have Tim come out and do a talk and it has put my mind at ease considerably. I think it is a great idea to have a reptile expert come out and talk to you and a group of friends (if you live in a snake-y part of the world) so you can just know the facts, stay safe, and just rock out out in nature without a care in the world.