I live in SC on Lake Murray waterfront.Also have huge natural stone pond front area of lot. Cotton Mouth Snake either fell or jumped near or at me from bamboo thicket fronting a heavily wooded area. Other people from various areas of US seem to believe two things: 1.Cotton Mouth Snakes are NOT the same or even similar to the Water Mocassin (which they believe are harmless water snakes) and 2.Cotton Mouths(water mocassin) Never climb trees. These beliefs are so rampant that others have me doubting my own knowledge;i.e. water moassin and cotton mouth are the same--but are not considered so by most people. Any chance of clarifying this issue or me as well as for others in SC --For ALL OUR SAKES!!! thank you DJJ @ aol.
I've searched the web and the vast majority of sites support your view that Cottonmouth and Water Moccasin are synonymns for the snake Agkistrodon piscivorus (there are some variations on the spelling of the Latin name).I did find one dissenting site. It seems to me that the issue there relates to the usage of "water moccasin" as a local generic term for any water snake, and this may be exactly the situation that you find yourself in.Here are some pages that relate specifically to the Carolinas.http://www.uga.edu/srelherp/snakes/agkpis.htmhttp://www.pride-net.com/swamp/cr006.htmhttp://www.herpsofnc.org/herps_of_NC/snakes/Agk_pis.htmlI also found many references to cottonmouths climbing or resting on branches of trees, but they do not appear to be strong climbers.http://www.sptimes.com/News/072800/Outdoors/Season_of_the_serpent.shtmlhttp://www.pinejog.org/WebPages/Animal%20Facts%20and%20Figures.htmIt looks to me as if you are entirely correct. xarqi38496.3001506134