To identify a water moccasin, examine the snake's body size and length, color and facial features. Water moccasins are thick snakes with angular heads and pits between the eyes. The snakes swim with their bodies on top of the water and vary in color.
- Examine the body size
Water moccasins typically have very thick tails and bodies when compared to other snakes. The snake's neck is thinner than the body and head, and the head is heavy and angular in appearance.
- Observe the color of the snake
Water moccasins can vary in color, depending on the age of the snake. For instance, young water moccasins have a yellow tail and an irregular black-and-brown banded pattern, while older water moccasins are typically black.
- Examine the facial features
Pit vipers, including water moccasins, have pits between the eyes and slit-style pupils. Do not approach the snake in order to examine the pupils, however, as water moccasins are poisonous and may bite when threatened.
- Observe the snake in water
If the snake is swimming, observe the body of the snake to determine whether the body is visible. Water moccasins swim with most of the body on top of the water, while other species of water snakes may swim with the body immersed in the water.