The Iowa DNR confirmed Thursday the animal as a Northern water snake, a non-venomous animal.
Jessie Brown of the DNR said Thursday in an email that some may be concerned this is a cottonmouth, commonly called a water moccasin, which is venemous. But those are not found in Iowa.
Northern water snakes are distinguishable from their venemous look-alikes by their pupils: cottonmouths have a vertical slit pupil while Northern water snakes have a round pupil, Brown said.
Brown added that you can find Northern water snakes near any kind of water that contains fish, which is primarily what they eat.
“It appears to be capturing a black bullhead, which it could possibly swallow if it eats the fish head-first,” Brown said in an email.
There are four venomous snakes in Iowa, the DNR wrote: timber rattlesnake, prairie rattlesnake, Massasauga rattlesnake and copperhead. Timber rattlers are listed as threatened or endangered.
One commenter named Jamie Marie Roush wrote, “THIS is why I only swim in pools!!!”
Many commenters posted photos of snakes they’ve also spotted in Iowa waterways.
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