Cottonmouth vs Water Snake!

– I’m Coyote Peterson. Right now we’re hiking in
the southern swamps of Texas, which is home to two
different water snake species. One is venomous, and one is not. If your life depended on it, would you be able to
tell the difference? (dramatic music) Stick around, ’cause
we’re about to show ya. (dramatic jungle music) (animal growling) As the sun cut through the
tops of the cypress trees, I carefully made my
way into the swamp. Every step counts when
you’re in the back country of south Texas. And as my boots slowly splashed
through the dark water, my focus was completely in
tune with the environment. I knew that it was only
a matter of time before I would find the one
reptile that most people are terrified of. Ah. – [Cameraman] Hey, what
are you looking for? – Snakes, and nothing yet. You know, most people are
out there and they’re hiking and they stumble upon snakes
when they don’t expect to. Me, I’m always lookin’ for ’em. But if you do come
across one in the wild, I think it’s really important
to identify the species. A lot of times you have
a non-venomous snake that will look like
a venomous one. Unfortunately, these
non-venomous snakes are then vilified
as being venomous and a lot of times they
end up being killed. My goal today is to catch
one non-venomous snake and one venomous snake
so we can show you the distinct differences
between the two. Ah, it’s a long search
out here in the swamps. I’m not givin’ up. We are gonna find some snakes. (water splashing) (suspenseful music) (dramatic music) (yelling) Yes! Yes! Check it out. Okay, little bitey,
little bitey. Ah, ah, ah, ah,
he’s got my finger. Ouch! Ah, good news for me, though, is that this one
is non-venomous. Bring it up in the
light, check that out. That is a broad-banded
water snake. Woo, okay. That is half of the
equation right there. Watch your GoPro. He’s trying to bite ya. Well, that’s the safe one. Now we gotta find the moccasin. Whew, awesome! Man, definitely got my thumb. A bite from this one and
I’m gonna be just fine. But the other snake
we’re lookin’ for? The water mocassin? If that attacked my thumb, we wouldn’t be gettin’ shots. We’d be on our way
to the hospital. Look at that. Let me get ’em real close
for your camera there. Woah! – [Cameraman] He’s bitey. Beautiful snake. – Okay, cool. Well, let’s keep
searching for moccasins. (dramatic music) You do not wanna do
is just accidentally step on a venomous snake. This is definitely
moccasin territory. There’s a moccasin right there. Okay, come up slow. – [Cameraman] Where? – Right up against
the side of that tree. – [Cameraman] Oh, I see. – Wow, look at how big it is. Okay, now this it the real deal. Stay back. (exhaling) Okay. Stay a couple steps back out. Now, they usually
move pretty slow. I’m gonna try to hook
it and bring it up here on the path. You ready? – [Cameraman] Yup. Careful. (dramatic music) – Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh. Startle. (dramatic music) – [Cameraman] Careful. – Got it by the tail,
got it by the tail. Okay, there we go. Do not wanna take a
bite from this snake. That one will send
ya to the hospital. Okay, bringing it
up on the path here. Wow, okay. Ooh, rattle in the
tail a little bit. That is a defensive sign. Okay. Ah, ah, ah, tss, tss, tss, tss. It should just stop for us. Come here, come here. There we go. All right, what we need
to do now is just get the snake under control
so that we can get it up close for the cameras. Let me move it back
a little bit here. Ha, my nerves are goin’. Just looking into
the water there and that’s how well
these things camouflage. I just saw it out of
the corner of my eye, just an obscure shape
up against that cypress. And that’s what
these snakes will do. You don’t often see
them slithering about like you would a water snake. They’ll often be just like this, curled up in a ball somewhere
trying to stay camouflaged, trying to stay away from
any potential predators. Then again, if you were
gonna try to eat this snake, you better be quick
because if you’re tagged by those fangs, you are going
to be in a world of trouble. Now this is a water moccasin, but they are famously
known as cottonmouths. And watch this. I’ll get the snake
to open its mouth and you’ll see
that white throat. Look at that. That is a defensive, woah, see? And look, he got the
tail goin’ now, too. You see that? Mimicking a rattlesnake,
saying I am venomous. Yes, we know that
you are venomous. I can actually see
the fangs tucked back. Woo, I am drippin’ bullets
of sweat right now. Let me back up a touch. Okay, well perfect. We have the two snake
species that are indigenous to this habitat. A water moccasin and a
broad-banded water snake. One venomous, one that is not. Stick around and we’ll
show you which is which. Wow. Check this out. Completely calm now
considering the fact just a few minutes ago
this snake was doing everything it could to
bite me and get away. This is the broad-banded
water snake. And look at this
incredibly calm demeanor. Now I noticed the same thing
with Lake Erie water snakes and northern water snakes. At first it’s all
about fight or flight. If they can’t get away
and you catch ’em, they immediately
try to bite you. Now the good news for
me, like I said before, is that this is a
non-venomous species. – [Cameraman] So how
big do the snakes get? I mean, do these
snakes get as big as a northern water snake? – Yeah, they do. I would say this is
about average size for one of these snakes. It is I’d say about two
and a half feet in length. But they can grow out to
be about three and a half or four feet at a maximum size. Females are larger
than the males, and I do believe it’s a
male, looking at its cloaca. Yeah, you’re a handsome
fella, aren’t ya? Now, these snakes are
often misidentified. People see them near the water and they automatically
think it’s a water moccasin. This is a very common
species all across the southeastern United States. And the reason people mistake
it for a water moccasin is mostly the fact that A,
it’s right by the water, and B, the coloration. I’m gonna turn the
snake just a little bit. You see all that dark
brown that runs the length of the body? And then that faded
banding looks just like a younger water moccasin. But then of course if
you flip the snake over and look at its belly, look at all that
copper checkering. You will not find that
on a water moccasin. And not that you’d
ever necessarily see the belly of the snake, but I just think that that’s
really, really cool lookin’. Ho, ho, this is
actually the first time I have caught this
species of snake. And it is just so
incredibly calm right now. I cannot believe how
comfortable this snake has gotten with us, and we’ve only been handling
it for a few minutes. Oh, but it did musk on me. There you go. See that white stuff
on my hand right there? – [Cameraman] Ew. – Oh, yeah, it stinks. That is another
defense mechanism. Poop on a potential predator
if it’s trying to eat me. All right, but I’m
not gonna eat you. Don’t worry. We could just hang
out and be friends. Wow, this snake is so cool. Well, I think at this
juncture we should bring out the water moccasin. I’m gonna hand the
snake off to Mario. He’s gonna bring
in the moccasin. This is gonna be a
little more dangerous. Hopefully we’ll get that
snake to just calm down on the ground and we’ll get
the cameras up close for it so we can show you the
distinct field markings of that snake. All right, you ready? – [Mario] Yup. – All right, now we’re gonna
bring in the water moccasin. Ah, just keep your
wits about you ’cause this is going to be
slightly more dangerous. Okay, let me bring it over here. Come here, come here, come here. – [Cameraman] Slightly
is an understatement. – [Coyote] Yeah. I got it, I got it, I got it. Sling it in under. Hold on, let me get her to stop. Shht, shht. There we go. – [Cameraman] So, Coyote,
the water snake you just held had anticoagulant in its saliva. This snake has venom. What would this snake do to you? – This snake would, depending
on how your body reacted, it could potentially kill you. There are not many
reported deaths from water moccasin bites. However, that venom
is incredibly toxic and it will break down
your red blood cells. You could lose a finger, you could lose your hand. Let’s just put it this way. If I’m tagged by this snake, we are leaving the
scene and we are heading to the hospital. So I need to be extra
careful right now. Mark, we’ve got you a
couple feet past the snake. We’ve got Mario
just off camera here making sure if the
snake makes a move, he can keep it away
from you, Mark. But other than that, if we just stay
calm and collected just like this in
front of the snake, we should be just fine. You see, the snake’s
not trying to flee. It’s just keeping itself
low to the ground, its body spread. Look how wide and
girthy that snake is. Now these snakes,
like the banded water
snakes, are aquatic. However, they do not dive
down under water to hunt. You will see them
occasionally moving from pocket of water to
pocket of water, but they usually are
hunting on the embankment. These snakes do not have
rattles like rattlesnakes and they rely on their
camouflage to keep them hidden. A lot of times people will
be walking down a trail, you accidentally
step on the snake, and that’s how you are bitten. This snake has no
interest in chasing or hurting humans. If you just admire this
animal from a safe distance, you’re gonna be just fine. Okay, so the most important
part of this episode is that we want to
show you a comparison of this snake next to the
broad-banded water snake. Now to do that I’m
going to have to get the water moccasin
under control, which means I’m gonna
use my snake hook to gently pin its head and
then pick the snake up. Mario’s gonna bring in the
broad-banded water snake, we’re gonna put
them side-by-side, and show you the
distinct field marks so that you can properly
identify these snakes if you ever come across
them in the wild. – [Mark] Should we
get in for a shot? – [Coyote] I am gently going
to get position of her head just like this. There we go. I want my fingers just
behind the head like that. – [Mark] This is the
most dangerous thing you can do with
a venomous snake. – Yup. Never, ever, ever do what
you see me doing here. I’ll get full
control of the body. There we go. Yeah, well you notice
my hand is shaking. Now never, ever, ever try
to pick up a venomous snake like you just saw me do. The only reason that
I headed this snake is so that we can
get both of these right next to each other. I’ve got a gentle yet
firm grip on the back of her head just
behind the venom glands and full control of the body. You won’t see me
moving too much more for this scene. I just kind of gotta collect
my nerves, stay calm. Mario, go ahead and bring in
the broad-banded water snake. – [Mario] There we go. – Cool. – Lookin’ a little nervous. – Little bit. Kind of have a dangerous
snake here in my hand. She’s calmed down a bit. You can see her tongue’s
flickin’ out now, so that’s good. She’s not trying to
expose her fangs. Now the water moccasin,
because it it a pit viper and it has these two
massive venom glands, has a very
triangular-shaped head. You pan over to the
broad-banded water snake, and its head is
actually very narrow. However, when these
broad-banded water snakes are threatened, they
will flatten their heads and puff them up, forming
them into a triangle, which often times causes
people to misidentify them for water moccasins. It’s good news for the snake
if it draws off a predator, but it’s bad news if
that predator’s a human, and then unfortunately
that snake usually ends up being killed. Hoo, sorry, a little nervous. Let’s look on the heads as
well at the snake’s eye. So I’m just gonna slightly turn. – [Mario] I’ll move,
you stay there. – Okay, okay. You’ll notice that
the water moccasin has a vertical pupil while
the broad-banded water snake has a circular pupil. I don’t imagine anybody
out there watching is ever gonna get
face-to-face with either of these snake species, but if you happen upon one
and you see a vertical pupil, you know it’s a
moccasin and you know that it’s venomous. Now the last difference on
the face of these snakes is the fact that the water
moccasin is a pit viper. Now right up front there
you’ll see a nostril and just behind that
you see another hole in-between the
nostril and the eye. That is the heat-sensing
pit which allows these snakes to detect
not only their prey, but potential predators
in the environment. Now when you look at the
broad-banded water snake, you’ll notice that it
does not have pits, just eyes and nostrils. When you look at these
two snakes overhead, you can see how similar
they are in coloration. Now the broad-banded water
snake has more distinct banding, but if you were to
just see these snakes at a quick glance, they are pretty similar-looking. But you’ll notice that
the water moccasin has a much girthier
flattened body as compared to the
banded water snake. Look at that
difference right there. – [Mark] But their
scales look similar. – [Coyote] They do, don’t they? And both species have
rough keeled scales which allows them to
quickly be able to move through this rugged environment. – [Mark] Can we see the bellies? I know that’s another
big difference. – Yup. – [Mark] Wow, look at that. – Yup, now you’re never
likely to see the belly of these two snakes
next to each other, but as you can see, the banded water snake is
beautiful and checkered, and the water moccasin
is just kind of plain and cream-colored. Not that that makes the
snake any less special. (Mario sniffing) – I smell something, Coyote. – You do. I smell that same thing. Both of these snakes
right now are musking, which is a final defense
tactic in the event that something
tries to eat them. That musk is coming out
of their bottom ends, and if you’re a predator
and you get that in your mouth, it
tastes really bad. So as you can tell, these snakes have many
different defenses against potential predators. For everyone out there watching, we want you to know
that these two snakes are very difficult
to distinguish from one another. And if you see a snake
out there in the wild, definitely treat it
as if it’s venomous. If it’s a moccasin
and you take a bite, you’re gonna be in
a lot of trouble. So it’s best to just
always admire these animals from a safe distance. I’m Coyote Peterson. Be brave! Stay wild. We’ll see you on
the next adventure. All right, you
ready to let ’em go? – Let’s do it. – Back into the wild
with these snakes. Working with snakes
is one of the most dangerous aspects of this job, and the reason I do
it is so that we can learn about these
incredible animals and hopefully walk away
with a newfound respect for even the ones
that we are afraid of. If you thought this
episode was fascinating, make sure to go back
and watch as Mario and I compared an
alligator to a crocodile. And don’t forget, subscribe, so you can join me and
the crew on this season of Breaking Trail. (animal growling) (birds chirping)

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100 Responses

  1. Teri Dyer says:

    Is all venomous snakes plain colored

  2. DJ Creeperkid says:

    Am I the only one who thinks snakes are cute??

  3. Colton Phillips says:

    Are you a country boy cause I am?

  4. Stella'stage says:

    4:03 coyote Peterson is a VSCO girl

  5. Malachi Foster says:

    I'm coyote Peterson and I'm about to eat a hot pocket right out of the microwave

  6. kevaplaya137 says:

    Do a Cottonmouth bite test. hahaha xD

  7. robert stickler says:

    He should have let the moccasin bite him

  8. Bẫy rắn nguyễn 2 says:


  9. Hell says:

    4:03 Vsco girl

  10. Abegail Lampay says:


  11. Sneaky Ninja says:

    I got 3ins a way from stepping on a black racers

  12. april adams says:


  13. Clipzz fr days says:

    How the hell its he gonna let go of that thing and not die

  14. devan campbell says:

    Think I'd be ok, I don't plan on biting any snakes anytime soon!

  15. Tia Grant says:

    coyote gets bitten by an alligator just groaning

    Me getting bit by a bird a the zoo

    Screams bloody murder

  16. ISLAM_HUNTER _77 says:

    Coyote not looking for a snake: damn near sits on one.

    Coyote looking for snakes: actually has to dive into water to catch one.

  17. Enzo Gutierrez says:

    You need to ware boots

  18. Jose Diaz says:

    Coyote: Look there!!, over there….. a dangerous snake…….imma poke it..

  19. Krissa Lake says:


  20. James Russel Basa says:


  21. Aiden's Adventure World says:

    Why do we watch people suffering??

  22. EkkaFijiWater ! says:

    Coyote: Look it how wide and girthy that is

    Me: You mean thicc

  23. Angimaua Teboko says:

    On 4:03 THE SNAKE: AND I OOP



  24. Aqua Loverzz AJ says:

    Cottonmouth: Hey bro
    Water snake: I’m about about to end this whole snakes career of being alive.
    Cottonmouth: But your not even venomous?
    Water snake: *bites*
    Cottonmouth: HEY DONT MESS WITH MeEEeeE
    Water snake: Um.
    Cottonmouth: *bites water snake*
    Water snake: MUMMYYYYYYYY HALP

  25. norman adlaon says:

    Wow! your a true legend and brave and myth your the best your strong you not scared of venomous animals and snake.

  26. Filip Svegare says:

    I hate you

  27. Anthony Chavira says:

    When a snake bites you it is a snake hole

  28. Naomi Cain says:

    2:32 heck yeah you'd be getting shots coyote: shots of antivenom lol

  29. Trent Friend says:

    This is why I wait for winter time for my forest walking

  30. Amy Bittle says:

    Snake* I’m going to kill you
    Me* *grabs nighf
    coyote *dont kill it

  31. Lexou Zzzhhh says:

    We got one "snake" in germany in can identify, because it isn't a real snake (its a lizard, but due to evolution they lost their legs)
    I know we have one extremely rare venomous, that can be deadly in worse cases.
    When i see a real snake i stop, and then walk backwards slowly
    This dude just grabs it, i mean wtf?

  32. Alyssa Miller says:

    So on the top it looks like a cottonmouth and on the bottom it looks like a copperhead snake

  33. Deadtobi says:

    Is Coyote a Vsco Girl? 4:03

  34. July par says:


  35. Charlesr resendez says:


  36. Charlesr resendez says:


  37. Angel Jaquez says:

    Hehehehe I got a joke!

    Kid: Mom I got bit by a baby snake

    Mom: how do you know it was a baby???

    Kid: I know because it has a rattle on the tail.

    🙂 lol

  38. Howdy Doughty says:

    “Maccosins with chase you!”

    Snakes try’s to get around people and into the water during the whole capture.

  39. Will Meikleツ says:

    I got bit by a water moccasin thinking it was a water snake ended up going to the hospital and it HURTS REAL BAD and the venom is EXTREMELY TOXIC

  40. Amanda Brock says:

    Coyote is a visco girl lol

  41. Amanda Brock says:


  42. Amanda Brock says:


  43. Junior the God says:

    4:03 coyote turned into the first vysco boy

  44. Amanda Brock says:

    Coyote you cra cra

  45. Socker Skin says:

    That jump scare not a fan

  46. Izaak Oldenburg says:

    does anyone else look at the water moccasin when he is holding it and think it looks like a cat

  47. ALEX Warren says:

    My brother is only 15 and he held a copperhead snake

  48. Shining Star 1 says:

    Oo- oo- oo- sksksksk

    Lol ?

  49. Shining Star 1 says:

    He should get a tamed snake pet that would be really cool to be like it’s “mascot”

  50. Silver Reaper says:

    i got jumpscared in begging of this

  51. AZAi Beast5 says:

    Who else is watching in 2019

  52. KittenBobbi 2007 says:

    I love snakesss

  53. T i n says:

    wild animals to Cayote– "ARE WE A JOKE TO YOU?" ???

  54. Maria Maria says:

    You almost die. Please always becareful

  55. Bj Shepherd says:

    4:19 that ah timing
    (btw look at the snakes mouth)

  56. Ally's Channel *VemonChan* says:

    quickly catch the non venomous .
    slowly catch the venomous

  57. Richard Migliore says:

    Hi I learn a lot from you

  58. Sarah Ryan says:

    4:03–4:05 kskskssksks and I oop ??

  59. Music Gods says:

    In my book every snake is venomous

  60. Nancy Grimes says:

    You walked over one

  61. Annie G says:

    Coyote be came a vsco girl at 4:03

  62. Brittany Galyen says:

    When I turned on the video I got so scared when the snake ? jumped up my boyfriend Jorden and I were just sitting on the couch and watching YouTube and eating takis and all the sudden a snake showed up and I thought it was going to jump on me and bite and eat me I was so scared ?

  63. Democlatic Tv says:

    Wait isn’t comparing there’s eyes a way

  64. Leonie Law says:

    he tells me to admire these animals from a distance. if I ever see a snake I wouldn't admire it from a safe distance I would run as far as I can.

  65. Renzo Johnson says:


  66. XxXS0RAXxX says:

    This is a real man

  67. AMANDA WARE says:

    THE only snakes I've seen in the wild are tiger-snakes

  68. PinDarkShadow PDS says:


  69. Pierce andherky says:

    Coyote=visco girl

    Don’t move snake! SK SK SK SK

  70. Citric Chloride says:

    He's a VSCO Girl 4:03 (lol)

  71. Fabio Gawlitta says:

    I never got bit by a snake but I get bits from my cat and stung by a bee

  72. Fabio Gawlitta says:

    But some times I pick fights with my cat

  73. Fabio Gawlitta says:

    And I’m so careful I don’t want him to bite me

  74. Addie Peterson says:

    My uncle’s dog found a water moccasin in his backyard, they killed it (so it wouldn’t hurt the dogs more than anything else) huge and scary snake!

  75. sky gameing23 says:

    And I oop and sksksksksk

  76. Kane theriot says:

    Who else came here to determine what kind of snake bit them?

  77. Tseries Pewdiepie says:

    I don’t care what it is I am running like

  78. AtomAtons says:

    Coyote just sees a small out house and a "BEWARE ORGRE" Sign. SOMEBODY ONE TOLD ME THE WORLD WAS GON__ Coyote gets his head ripped off by shrek

  79. Leah Blank says:

    Ahh the broad banded water snake. What beautiful crystal clear light and handsome green eyes. While the water moccasin has pretty cloudy eyes. Always look at the pupils. How pretty.

  80. rkmeier meier says:

    Can you uplode this to your japanese chanel

  81. AveMarionette says:


  82. Amy Bittle says:

    Snake*idk wat to do
    Me*f*** this sh** I’m out
    Coyote*??‍♀️ wat the hell

  83. X-skull Beatbox says:

    I thought this would be a snake battle ??

  84. Christian Coleman says:

    Cayote the Vsco girl 4:03

  85. Gretchen Wilson says:

    I like snakes ?

  86. Gretchen Wilson says:

    I want a snake battles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!please

  87. Penelope Tucker says:

    We all love brave wilderness, it’s the best! It helps me identify all the different animal species, venomous or not, helps us be brave in the wilderness around us. We all love brave wilderness ♥️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  88. Random Content says:

    4:03 a real vsco girl

  89. Iggy the crazy koopa says:

    Ahhh my favorite episode


    So like imagine coyote flips the snake so he could identify it as a cottonmouth but it has no copper checkering

  91. PhoenixB4U says:

    A couple things not mentioned is that water snakes are normally long and slender whereas cottonmouths are usually short and thick. Also all water snakes in (SE Texas anyway) have the vertical bands/stripes on the lower jaw…whereas cottonmouths don't. Cottonmouths (when they're young) will also have a more visible pattern and not look as grey/black so you can't go by pattern alone. Cottonmouths are notorious for curling up and showing you the white inside of their mouths though…whereas other snakes don't typically do that.

  92. XXKawaii and cuteXX says:

    Me living in the marshland as a young kid made us schedule multiple trips to the hospital by water moccasins

  93. Elijah Rivas says:


  94. Elijah Rivas says:


  95. Reese Davis says:

    I didn’t know he was a vsco girl sksksksk

  96. David Vasquez says:

    Coyote: doesn’t get hurt when he got bitten by a snake

    Me: (steps on a tiny rock) me screaming like hell !!!

  97. Marissa Leyanne says:

    1:08 oh hi snake

  98. lightningbunny14914 says:

    Get out of mah swamp

  99. Ho Hong says:

    The snake opened his mouth right on time

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