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Florida's Marvelous Reptiles and Amphibians

Updated on December 26, 2014

Lizards, Frogs, Geckos. My Oh My!

Reptiles and amphibians are every where you look in Florida. They're fascinating creatures. Following are the lizards, frogs, geckos, turtle and snakes that we have discovered here in Florida. You will also find species check lists and other interesting facts you may not have know.

Facts about Reptiles

* Reptiles, like birds, have voluntary control over the muscles in their eyes, which determine their pupil size. This means that they are able to constrict or dilate their pupils at will, not just in response to light.

* The jaw structure of a reptile does not permit chewing; they can only tear their food.

* Reptiles do not have sweat glands so they are not slimy.

* Reptiles are waterproof

Key to Check List Colors

Throughout this article you will find check lists of reptiles, amphibians and snakes. They are color coded to the animals status. Following is a key to those colors.

| Species of Special Concern | Threatened | Endangered | Poisonous || Introduced |

-- Lizards --

Lizard & Salamander Facts

* Although often mistaken for a type of lizard due to their similar body shapes salamanders and newts are in fact members of the Amphibian family.

* Some species of gecko use their tails as a defensive tool. When attacked, the gecko will wiggle its tail to lure the attacking creature. When the animal bites onto the tail, the gecko can detach the tail and make its escape. In most cases, a new tail will grow in place of the old one.

* The smallest lizard in the world is the rare, tiny gecko of the Virgin Islands. Only 15 specimens have ever been found. They measure 0.70 inches from snout to tail.

* Certain species of salamanders and lizards may actually hear through their lungs. Studies found that sound causes the animal's chest to vibrate, and the vibrations are carried by air from the lungs to the animal's inner ear where it is processed as sound.

Southeastern Five-lined Skink - Eumeces inexpectatus

Five-lined skinks spend most of their time on the ground, under leaf litter and rotting logs where they forage on any small invertebrates, spiders, insects, larvae, earthworms, crustaceans, lizards, even small mice. They climb only to bask on stumps or the lower reaches of tree trunks.Skinks purposely break their tails when confronted with danger. This break occurs at specialized vertebrae that are split by contractions of the surrounding muscles. The lost tail is then slowly regenerated. Skinks are eaten by snakes, hawks and other bird of prey and mammals such as raccoons, skunks, possums, foxes.

As I research lizards and skinks online I'm finding out that many skink young have blue tails.

Five Lined Skink

These cute guys are small and easily missed. I see a lot while I stand quiet and wait for an alligator to move, which can take hours sometimes. This guy was nearly right under my feet.

Northern Curlytail Lizards - Leiocephalus carinatus armouri, Introduced

This species was released intentionally in the 1940s in Palm Beach in an attempt to rid sugarcane of insect pests, and it has since expanded both north and south. This native of the Bahama Islands is also popular in the pet trade, which has resulted in additional releases and escapes. It is now common in parks, in agricultural lands, along canal edges, along seawalls, and in other habitats in Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. This alert, robust lizard is mostly terrestrial but climbs well, especially preferring areas with ground rubble. This is a fairly large lizard and males may reach a length of 11 in.

Excerpt from: Florida's Exotic Wildlife from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission

Brown Anole

Anolis sagrei, Introduced

The brown anole is native to Cuba and the Bahamas, and it was first observed in the Florida Keys in 1887. This species thrives in disturbed habitats and ornamental plantings but can potentially inhabit almost any inland or coastal habitat in Florida. It is apparently the most abundant anole over much of the southern half of peninsular Florida, and populations now occur in every county in peninsular Florida. It often perches low in trees and shrubs but is quite terrestrial, often escaping by running along the ground. Males reach a length of 20 cm (8 in). The body is brown, and males often have bands of yellowish spots, whereas females and juveniles have a light vertebral stripe with dark, scalloped edges. The edge of the dewlap is white and appears as a stripe on the throat when not distended. The dewlap may vary in color from a bright red-orange to pale yellow.

Excerpt from: Florida's Exotic Wildlife from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission

Brown Anole

I just love these guys. They run everywhere and I've rescued many from inside buildings. They're fun to watch. They can be aggressive towards other Anoles and confrontations are common when they're breeding.

I love this head bob. When I see one bobbing his head I think of John Belushi and Gilda Radner from Saturday Night Live so many years ago. I picture a skit where John is at a bar dressed as these cute little anoles. As Gilda walks by John starts flicking his red dewlap and bobbing his head to get her attention. Oh, and he wiggles his eyebrows and gives "that look" too ;)

The Brown Anole is everywhere

This lizard is, quite literally, all over the place. You'll find him peeking out from under your shutters, scurring along the arm of your lawn chair and sometimes even running across the wall in your house.

An Anole at a tiny watering hole

An Anole drinking from a tiny collection of water in a small hole in the asphalt parking lot of Walgreens.

Green Iguana

Introduced

The Green Iguana is not native to Florida. Growing up to 6 1/2 feet in length Iguana's are herbivores and eat variety of leaves, fruits, and flowers. The young have been found to eat snails. They spend much of their time basking over canals or ponds, where they can escape danger by plunging headfirst into the water. They are accomplished swimmers and can remain submerged for long periods of time without surfacing for air. Iguana's are active during the day. The reproduce by laying eggs. You will also see they bob their heads, nod and do push ups. This is a territorial sign and some may become aggressive.

The iguana is becoming very much a pest in some locations.

Green Iguana Climbing down a tree.

There are a lot of green iguana's in Florida. We also have spiny tailed iguana's which are more the color of dead leaves and are, quite frankly, a little on the ugly side. This guy was pretty in his green coloring and he was a fair size. That's a full grown tree he's climbing down.

Lizzard Check List

Ameiva

Green anole

Hispaniolan green anole

Crested anole

Large-headed anole

Bark anole

Green bark anole

Florida bark anole

Knight anole

Jamaican anole

Bahaman brown anole

Cuban brown anole

Basilisk lizard

Rainbow lizard

Six-lined racerunner

Ctenosaur

Southern coal skink

Florida Keys mole skink

Cedar Key mole skink

Bluetail mole skink

Peninsula mole skink

Northern mole skink

Five-lined skink

Southeastern five-lined skink

Broadhead skink

Tokay gecko

Yellow-headed gecko

Chichak

Indo-Pacific gecko

House gecko

Mediterranean gecko

Green iguana

Northern curly-tailed lizard

Hispaniolan curly-tailed lizard

Sand skink

Eastern slender glass lizard

Island glass lizard

Mimic glass lizard

Eastern glass lizard

Texas horned lizard

Southern fence lizard

Florida scrub lizard

Ground skink

Ocellated gecko

Ashy gecko

Reef gecko

| Species of Special Concern | Threatened | Endangered | Poisonous || Introduced |

-- Amphibians --

Amphibian Facts

* Hundreds of millions of years ago, amphibians became the first vertebrates to live on land.

* Amphibians means "double life" in ancient Greek language.

* Florida has 28 species of frogs.

* Frogs and toads living in Florida lay eggs in water which develop into tadpoles.

* Tadpoles live in the water and eat algae and bacteria.

* After tadpoles change into frogs they usually eat insects.

* Frogs and toads swallow their food whole and do not have teeth.

* Florida frogs size range from the bullfrog that can reach 8 inches in length to the little grass frog which is less than an inch long and is the smallest frog in North America

* Before the barometer was discovered, German meterologists used frogs to predict air pressure changes. Frogs croak when the pressure drops.

Pinewoods Treefrog

This tree frog is 1 to 1 3/4 inches and is mostly grayish-brown with a slight reddish cast. It can change colors to green when on green leaves. Many individuals have a dark band that runs from the nostril through the eye. This frog is often confused with the Squirrel Treefrog but unlike the Squirrel Treefrog, it does not have any yellow around the mouth or under parts. The Pinewoods treefrog eats insects. It stays high in tree tops both in pine flatland and cypress and only comes down to breed and lay eggs. It breeds between March and October, mostly during the rainy season. The Pinewoods treefrogs chorus at night sounds like a staccato of many typewriters all going at once.

Giant Toad, Marine Toad or Cane Toad

Poisonous

Everyone's hunted toads as a child but here in Florida there is one that we must watch out for, especially with our pets!

Most toads have dry, rough bumpy skin. Frogs have a moist, smooth skin. Toads also have a pair of glands behind their eyes that produce a poison that protects them from being eaten. All toads possess these glands but most are too small to severely affect people or their pets. Frogs do not possess these glands, and there are no poisonous frogs in Florida.

Cane Toads can grow to 9 inches and weigh nearly 2 pounds. Their poison is stronger and can burn eyes, inflame the skin and kill cats and dogs. The Cane Toad comes from South America and was originally released in sugar cane fields to help control rats and mice but it now is commonly found in South Florida yards. It breeds year round in standing water, streams, canals and ditches. The Cane Toad will eat anything that they can swallow including small amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals and even dog or cat food. If you leave dog or cat food outside, the toad will sit in it and eat it. If your pet finds the toad and bits it you're pet will almost surely die. The eggs and tad poles are also poisonous. They have been known to breed though out the year. Females can breed twice a year. They prefer slow moving freshwater streams but have even been known to breed in brackish waters.

Cane toads are beneficial as they eat thousands of insects. If they get out of control they may also replace native species or eat native birds and reptiles. They are poisonous but only if carelessly handled and they do not attack people or animals. If you have too many and are afraid of children or pets coming in contact with them the humane way of lessening the population is to put them in a plastic container, place them in the freezer for three days then bury the carcasses. Cane Toads are amphibians and hibernate. If you need to euthanize an animal that hibernates putting them in the freezer will put them into the deep sleep of hibernation and from there they will die. If you are uncomfortable with this and have a population problem with Cane Toads call a local animal control center.

Florida Frog, Toad and Salamander Check List

Northern cricket frog

Southern cricket frog

Giant toad [Introduced]

Oak toad

Southern toad

Fowler's toad

Coqui[Introduced]

Greenhouse frog

Eastern narrowmouth toad

Pine barrens treefrog

Bird-voiced treefrog

Cope's gray treefrog

Pinewoods treefrog

Barking treefrog

Squirrel treefrog

Cuban treefrog [Introduced]

Spring peeper

Southern spring peeper

Northern spring peeper

Southern chorus frog

Southern chorus frog

Florida chorus frog

Little grass frog

Ornate chorus frog

Gopher frog

Bullfrog

Bronze frog

Pig frog

River frog

Bog frog

Southern leopard frog

Carpentar frog

Eastern spadefoot toad

Green treefrog

Upland chorus frog

Flatwoods salamander

Marbled salamander

Mole salamander

Eastern tiger salamander

Two-toed amphiuma

One-toed amphiuma

Apalachicola dusky salamander

Southern dusky salamander

Spotted dusky salamander

Seal salamander

Southern two-lined salamander

Dwarf salamander

Georgia blind salamander

Four-toed salamander

Alabama waterdog

Striped newt

Eastern newt

Central newt

Peninsular newt

Slimy salamander

Southern Dwarf siren

Narrow-striped dwarf siren

Three-lined salamander

Everglades dwarf siren

Northern Dwarf siren

Gulf Hammock dwarf siren

Slender dwarf siren

Broad-striped dwarf siren

Mud salamander

Gulf coast mud salamander

Rusty mud salamander

Southern red salamander

Eastern lesser siren

Greater siren

Many-lined salamander

| Species of Special Concern | Threatened | Endangered | Poisonous || Introduced |

Frog and Toad Facts

* One way to tell a frog and a toad apart: frogs have smooth, clammy skin, while toads have more dry, bumpy skin. Both frogs and toads lay their eggs in water, but toads spend more of their time on land than do frogs.

* Frogs can breathe not only with their lungs, but also through their skin. A frog's skin is thin and contains many mucous glands that keep it moist. Oxygen can be absorbed through this thin, damp skin.

* Frogs absorb water through their skin so they don't need to drink.

* Frogs can throw up. Frogs throw up their stomach first so it is outside it's body. The frog then uses it's forearms to dig out all the stomach contents and then swallows it's stomach back in.

* Frog teeth are small and cone-shaped, and are found on the upper jaw. Frogs also have teeth on the roof of their mouths. The teeth hold prey before the frog swallows it whole.

* Frogs can jump 20 times their body length. They launch themselves with strong, back legs.

-- Turtles --

Facts About Turtles

* Turtles have been on the earth for more than 200 million years. They evolved before mammals, birds, crocodiles, snakes, and even lizards.

* Some turtles and tortoises, including the Eastern box turtle, can live for more than a 100 years.

* The earliest turtles had teeth and could not retract their heads, but other than this, modern turtles are very similar to their original ancestors.

* The top domed part of a turtle's shell is called the carapace and the bottom underlying part is called the plastron.

* The shell of a turtle is made up of 60 different bones all connected together.

* The bony portion of the shell is covered with plates (scutes) that are derivatives of skin and offer additional strength and protection.

* Most land tortoises have high domed carapaces that offer protection from the snapping jaws of terrestrial predators. Aquatic turtles tend to have flatter more aerodynamically shaped shells.

* Most turtle species have five toes on each limb with a few exceptions including the American Box Turtle of the carolina species that only has four toes, and in some cases, only three.

* Turtles have good eyesight and an excellent sense of smell. Hearing and sense of touch are both good and even the shell contains nerve endings.

* Some aquatic turtles can absorb oxygen through the skin on their neck and cloacal areas allowing them to remain submerged underwater for extended periods of time and enabling them to hibernate underwater.

Florida Turtle Regulations

You can take most freshwater turtles without a permit except those that are Endangered, Threatened or are a Species of Special Concern. You also can not take any River cooters from April 15 through July 31. No softshell turtles or their eggs may be taken from the wild between May 1 through July 31. Though you can take eggs the purchase or sale of eggs is prohibited. There are also limits to the number of turtles or eggs you can take. On Lake Okeechobee, no person may take or sell any peninsular cooter, Florida red-bellied turtle, Florida snapping turtle, or Florida soft-shelled turtle that has a carapace less than eight inches. No one can buy, sell, take or own any part of a gopher tortoise.

No person shall buy, sell or possess for sale any alligator snapping turtle, box turtle, Barbour's map turtle, river cooter, loggerhead musk turtle, Escambia River map turtle, diamondback terrapins, or parts thereof.

This is buy, sell or possess for sale. You can own these or keep them but they are restricted and you can only have two. I also heard you can't take them out of the state but I'm still trying to confirm that.

Possession limits (turtles or eggs) for restricted species are: river cooter, two; alligator snapping turtle, one; loggerhead musk turtle, two; box turtle, two; Barbour's map turtle, two; Escambia River map turtle, two; diamondback terrapins, two.

The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission asks that if you spot law violators or suspicious activities, contact your nearest FWC regional office.You may qualify for cash reward from the Wildlife Alert Reward Association. Call the FWC toll-free 1-888-404-FWCC, 1- 888-404-3922

Your donations to the Wildlife Alert Reward Fund are needed. Please send your tax deductible contribution to the Wildlife Alert Reward Association today!

The Wildlife Alert Reward Association

Williams, Cox, Weidner and Cox

P.O. Box 1606

Marianna, FL 32446

For additional information check The Calusa Herpetological Society of Southwest Florida website.

Care of Turtles as Pets

There have been some questions concerning how to take care of turtles. I love turtles and have kept many as pets but I keep Box Turtles as pets. Box turtles are land animals. There's also a lot of them and, except for the ban on removing them from the state of Florida, they aren't protected. They are also much easier to keep clean. By the way, turtles in the wild have not been found to have salmonella. They get salmonella from messy cages so cleaning cages and washing your hands is extremely important. This means that if you have a water loving turtle you must keep that tank constantly clean. Also, feed your turtles somewhere other than where they usually live. For water turtles this means two tanks constantly cleaned. I even gave my turtles a bath after they fed.

Turtles are not the easiest pets to have. Don't keep one just because your son or daughter brought one home. Instead use it as an example of how we should let wild things be wild, let it go, and go buy a hamster.

Rule Number 1: Be sure the turtle you have is NOT a protected species.

Rule Number 2: Keep your turtle and cages very clean.

Rule Number 3: Learn everything you possibly can about your turtle species and find a good reptile vet.

Please be a responsible pet owner!

Softshell Turtle

"Soft shelled turtles have a pointed nose. The shell is actually hard but is covered with a leathery skin and the edge is soft. The male grows to eight inches long and the female can reach sixteen inches long and longer. Softshell turtles have very long necks, sharp beaks and ugly tempers - their heads can reach a person holding them from behind. The largest softshell can weigh 35 pounds. They are hunted and eaten by some people. It prefers sandy or muddy bottomed lakes, canals, and springs where it may be found floating in the water or buried in the bottom. Florida softshell turtles feed on snails, amphibians, crayfish, and sometimes small birds."

A Soft Shelled Turtle digging her nest.

This turtle wasn't able to finish her nest. A crackle found her and kept pecking her her hind legs so she gave up, entered the water and swam away. I did find another a few days later but she was farther away and more difficult to shoot. She was able to finish her nest but the process takes several hours.

Turtle Check List

Florida softshell

Gulf coast smooth softshell

Gulf coast spiny softshell

Loggerhead sea turtle

Common snapping turtle

Florida snapping turtle

Common snapping turtle

Atlantic green turtle

Painted turtle

Spotted turtle

Chicken turtle

Florida chicken turtle

Eastern chicken turtle

Leather Back Sea turtle

Atlantic Hawksbill turtle

Gopher tortoise

Barbour's Map turtle

Ernst's map turtle

Striped Mud turtle

Mud turtle

Florida mud turtle

Eastern mud turtle

Kemp's Ridley Sea turtle

Alligator Snapping turtle

Diamondback terrapin

Carolina Diamondback terrapin

Ornate Diamondback terrapin

Mangrove terrapin

Florida east coast terrapin

River Cooter

Eastern River Cooter

Suwannee Cooter

Florida Cooter

Florida Cooter

Peninsula Cooter

Florida redbelly turtle

Loggerhead musk turtle

Loggerhead musk turtle

Stripeneck musk turtle

Stinkpot

Box turtle

Florida box turtle

Eastern box turtle

Gulf coast box turtle

Three-toed box turtle

Slider

Yellowbelly turtle

Red-eared slider

| Species of Special Concern | Threatened | Endangered | Poisonous || Introduced |

Florida Red-bellied Turtle

The Red-bellied Turtle is found in the Florida peninsula and Apalachicola area of the panhandle. The Florida Red-belly is often seen basking with Florida Cooters and River Cooters on logs or floating mats of vegetation. Because of its thick shell, it can bask for long periods. Adults prefer a diet of aquatic plants.

-- Snakes --

A Few Facts About Snakes

* The skulls of snakes are made up of many small bones that are interconnected in a flexible fashion. This is entirely different from a human skull, which is one solid piece. This allows snakes to expand their jaws and heads in order to eat prey items larger than their heads.

* The scales of all snakes (and many lizard species) are made of keratin, which is the same substance that makes up the hair and fingernails of humans.

* Snakes shed their skin in relation to their growth rate. A young snake will shed more often because they typically grow fastest during the first two years of their lives. An older snake will shed less often as its rate of growth slows down.

What to do if you find a snake.

It's always exciting to find a snake! They usually see or hear you before you know they are there and disappear before you can see them. So if you don't want to see a snake, be sure they can see or hear you first. If you do come across one leave them an escape path. Don't box them in or try to catch them unless you really know what kind of snake it is. Snakes are not all that easy to identify in the wild if you're not familiar with them. Lighting changes, the coloration of the snake changes during different phases of it's life, even the colors will change from environmental causes. A great example is the Black Racer shown above. Just a quick look at the black snake in the tree and you can't tell if it's a black water snake, racer or other snake. Patterns, if there are any, can be muted by dust or darken just before molting. I've seen moccasins this color as well. The only thing that told us this wasn't a moccasin or water snake was that it was very long and thin. It could have been a coach whip. We had to get a close up of it's head before identifying it. This wasn't easy. Though we were at least 50 feet away it had noticed us and was quickly trying to move away.

All snakes need to be respected. They are wonderful creatures and all are tremendously beneficial to us. They help to keep us healthy as they keep other creatures, like rats and mice, to a minimum. The small snakes will even eat cockroaches and anything that eats cockroaches are our friends!

Snake Ball

These are Banded Water Snakes. The female is larger and the one getting all the attention. The males are sliding along her and the one nearest her head is "clicking" his scales along hers.

Florida Black Racer

The Racer is one of Florida's most familiar snakes. You can find it most frequently in brush or shrub-covered areas near water. These snakes can be anywhere from 3 to 6 feet long. They are very fast snakes and will usually escape quickly if encountered but they will also bite. The Black Racer hunts during the day and has excellent vision. Racers will eat just about anything including other snakes, lizards, frogs, birds, rodents and insects

Pygmy Rattlesnake

This is a pygmy rattlesnake. They're common throughout Florida and on many offshore islands. The rattle is small and makes a sound like the buzzing of an insect that is not easy to hear. It also can not be heard from more than a few feet away. They are feisty and quick to strike. The bite causes inflammation, swelling and pain and needs immediate medical treatment but there have been no reports of people being killed by this snake. Of course, it is a poisonous snake and there is a good possibility that someone could be vulnerable to this snakes bite.

As you can see in the photo, this is a captive snake. It's not easy to find snakes; let alone poisonous ones. But just because we don't see one doesn't mean it's not there so we take precautions when walking and watch for snakes. Looking where you walk is your best precaution against snake bites. Look up. Look down. Look where you place your foot or hand before you place it there. And look in your own backyard as well as in the scrub.

Florida's Venomous Snakes

There are 47 species of snakes in Florida. Only these six are venomous.

For a detailed listing with photos and descriptions of all the snakes in Florida see the University of Florida's Online Guide to Florida Snakes. It has a the best information on identifying snakes that I have found. The Online Guide also has a section on what to do if you find a snake.

Florida Snake Check List

Southern copperhead

Florida cottonmouth

Eastern cottonmouth

Florida scarlet snake

Northern scarlet snake

Brownchin racer

Everglades racer

Southern racer

Eastern diamondback rattlesnake

Timber rattlesnake

Ringneck snake

Key ringneck snake

Southern ringneck snake

Eastern indigo snake

Corn snake

Keys corn snake

Yellow rat snake

Everglades rat snake

Gray rat snake

Eastern mud snake

Western mud snake

Rainbow snake

South Florida rainbow snake

Eastern hognose snake

Southern hognose snake

Mole kingsnake

Florida snake

Eastern kingsnake

Scarlet kingsnake

Eastern coachwhip

Eastern coral snake

Salt marsh snake

Gulf saltmarsh snake

Mangrove saltmarsh snake

Atlantic saltmarsh snake

Green watersnake

Plainbelly watersnake

Redbelly watersnake

Yellowbelly watersnake

Banded watersnake

Florida banded watersnake

Florida green watersnake

Midland watersnake

Brown watersnake

Peninsula green snake

Pine snake

Black pine snake

Florida pine snake

Brahminy blind snake [Introduced]

Striped crayfish snake

Glossy crayfish snake

Gulf crayfish snake

Queen snake

Pine woods snake

South Florida swamp snake

North Florida swamp snake

Dusky pygmy rattlesnake

Short-tailed snake

Brown snake

Marsh brown snake

Florida brown snake

Midland brown snake

Florida redbelly snake

Northern redbelly snake

Crowned snake

Rim rock crowned snake

Florida crowned snake

Central Florida crowned snake

Coastal dunes crowned snake

Peninsular crowned snake

Bluestriped ribbon snake

Florida ribbon snake

Peninsula ribbon snake

Eastern ribbon snake

Bluestripe garter snake

Eastern garter snake

Rough earth snake

Smooth earth snake

South Florida mole kingsnake

Rough green snake

| Species of Special Concern | Threatened | Endangered | Poisonous || Introduced |

Venomous Snake Identification

Eastern Diamondback rattlesnake. This is the largest rattlesnake with some being up to 7 feet long. You may find them in the woods with pine trees and brush. I've seen many rattlesnakes in the west. Every time I've come up to one it's been pretty obvious the snake was more afraid of me than I was of him. More often than not, all I've seen of the snake was its tail end as it moved as quickly as it could away from me. These snakes are out in the day light hours.

Timber rattlesnake. Wisconsin, where I grew up, is said to have Timber rattlesnakes. I spent a lot of time in the pine woods and never saw one. I guess if the Coral snake has an even greater reputation for being shy than the Timber rattlesnake, I don't have much of a chance of running across one here in Florida either.

Pigmy rattlesnake. This snake likes it a bit wetter than the rattlesnake and you'll find him in the woods with swampy streams or ponds. He is pretty small at less than a foot long. I've never seen one but then again, most venomous snakes are shy and rarely seen. (Photo and More Information Below)

Cottonmouth or Water Moccasin. These snakes like it very wet. You'll find them in or near lots of water. They like swamps, streams, and canals, anywhere there is water and thick brush. It's reputation as a feisty snake is a bit overblown I think. All the moccasins I've met seemed much more curious than snippy. But it is a bit disconcerting when a venomous snake comes towards you than away!

Copperhead. These snakes are 2 to 3 feet long. I've seen many copperheads in the west. They are usually close to water but they aren't associated with the water like the Moccasin is. In the wild the pattern on them is a lot less noticeable than in photos. They also vary a bit. The large ones are pretty fat curled up on a log and you can see their pattern better. The babies I've seen have less of a pattern and have a more overall coppery color.

Though the information we have found says that few Floridians have seen a copperhead we found a baby copperhead in our empty garbage can not long after we moved out here. My daughter, who has run the creeks and rivers in Kansas while growing up, is familiar with snakes. She came to me one day and said there was a snake I needed to take care of in the garbage can. We live on a canal. The garbage can was tucked half under a row of hedges to hide its presence. So.. heavy bush.. water.. just what copperheads like. But between the hedge and the water is 80 feet of mowed lawn and the edges of the canal aren't very bushy. So of course the copperhead, baby that is was, headed for the bush. It had the unfortunate, or maybe fortunate luck, to fall into our garbage can. Fortunate because both my daughter and I know how extremely vital to our world this one snake was and we took the snake, can and all, down to the canal and tipped it over to let the snake find it's own way out. Of course, it took us three days to go pick up our garbage can! The only time I've ever heard of someone being bitten by a copperhead is by stepping on one. We then moved our garbage can to the side of the house, out in plain view and away from any bushes.

Coral snake. I've never seen a Coral snake but would love to! They are said to be extremely shy and reclusive. This snake likes drier areas such as pine woods with lots of fallen leaves and tree stumps. They are about 3 feet long and very thin. There are two other snakes that look like the Coral snake but the color pattern is different. Those snakes have red bands touching black bands. The Coral snake has red bands touching yellow bands. Remember the phrase: "Red on Yellow, Kill a Fellow".

Learn more about these wonderful creatures!

Do you love reptiles as much as I do? Did you find this article interesting? Do you have any questions? I would love to help you find the answers.

Let's Hear From You!

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    • naturegirl7s profile image

      Yvonne L. B. 8 years ago from Covington, LA

      I really enjoyed this lens. 5*'s and Welcome to the Naturally Native Squids group. Don't forget to add your lens link to the appropriate plexo and vote for it.

    • Goldenpig999 profile image

      Goldenpig999 6 years ago

      My fondest memories of florida are watching anoles doing their head bobbing and dewlap displays. Your lens brought back memories, thanks.

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