072405mocassin.jpgAccording to the “experts” (the kind who get their information from books and brochures put out by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries), water moccasins don’t exist in Floyd County. In Virginia, they say, the pit viper can only be found around the Great Dismal Swamp.

Guess this moccasin, which I found along a stream on our property, flunked geography in high school. The snake is probably a mate to the one I killed two weeks ago along the same stretch of stream.

The experts who write those brochures for the state have long claimed water moccasins can’t be found in Floyd County, although we killed a bunch of them along Burk’s Fork Creek on our family farm back in the 60s. I remember my stepfather killing one and then calling the county game warden.

“Can’t be a water moccasin,” the warden said. “Must be a water snake.”

My stepfather invited the game warden to drop by for a visit. When he did, he examined the dead snake and found fangs.

“Tell me,” my stepfather asked. “Do water snakes have fangs like that?”

“Well…no,” the game warden stammered.

“So, what do you think this snake might be?”

“Looks like a water mocassin.”

According to the experts, only two species of poisonous snakes occupy the mountains of Southwestern Virignia: Copperheads (the most plentiful) and mountain rattlesnakes. Although water moccasins can be found in the mountains of North Carolina, they say, you just don’t find them around here.

Looks like the water moccasins didn’t get the memo.