Sunday, August 20, 2017

Pack 1910 Visits the National Scouting Museum


Pack 1910 visited the National Scouting Museum in Irving today. From seeing all the Norman Rockwell masterpieces to the thousands of artifacts, I believe everyone got to take something positive away from the experience. What a great American tradition every boy should be proud to be a part of!

The museum had a pinewood derby track set up with cars for them to test...

...a sample of a soapbox derby car created by a local pack

...a kayak and canoe to sit in

...uniforms from Tiger through Boy Scout, Venturing, Sea Scouts

... gear like backpacks to try out as well as a tent set up

... a mock campfire for stories

...a full display of US Council shoulder patches 

...a historical display of all the merit badges for Boy Scouts (many have been discontinued)

...a laser shooting range

...sketches and watercolors from Baden Powell's personal book (he was wickedly, amazingly, artistically talented!) 

...many interesting artifacts from the inception of the Boy Scouts of America from 1910 to today from past Jamborees

...a full section honoring Eagle Scouts

... this carved Corvette! was definitely a memorable experience!  Our full photo album is HERE.

If you weren't able to make it with the pack today, please pick another Sunday to visit with your family as the museum will close its doors for good mid-September to make the move to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. You should definitely visit it while it's still in our backyard! Plus, as a bonus, it's free on Sundays!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Solar Eclipse Patch

A total solar eclipse is a rare event. A total solar eclipse whose path crosses right over the heart of the United States? Even rarer.
On Aug. 21, 2017, the solar system serves up a special treat. Aug. 21 is a Monday, but those Scouts and Venturers who are still on summer break should plan a big celebration. Like all the best celebrations, this one comes with its own patch.

There won’t be another total solar eclipse over the United States until 2024. After that, you must wait until 2045. In other words, when Aug. 21 arrives, make sure you’re ready.

How to earn the BSA 2017 Solar Eclipse patch
  1. Locate a site suitable for viewing the eclipse. Search Google for “eclipse viewing” and the name of your city or town to find events near you.
  2. Describe how to safely view the eclipse.
    • Never look directly at the sun. Instead, look directly at these tips from NASA on how to view the eclipse safely.
  3. Discuss with your group what you saw and felt during the eclipse.
    • Post your comments and eclipse photos on social media using the hashtag #BSAEclipse2017.
  4. Do the following:
    • Discuss what a solar eclipse is with your leaders.
  5. Ask your unit leader to buy the 2017 Solar Eclipse patch.
    • It can be ordered through your local council service center.
(special thank you to Dave Hammonds for sending us the safety protocol for viewing the eclipse)

When Day turns into Night

On Monday, August 21, 2017, a solar eclipse will be visible (weather permitting) across all of North America. The whole continent will experience a partial eclipse lasting 2 to 3 hours. Halfway through the event, anyone within a roughly 70-mile-wide path from Oregon to South Carolina will experience a brief total eclipse, when the moon completely blocks the sun’s bright face for up to 2 minutes 40 seconds, turning day into night and making visible the otherwise hidden solar corona — the sun’s outer atmosphere — one of nature’s most awesome sights. Bright stars and planets will become visible as well.

Only View with Proper Eye Protection
During an eclipse, eye safety is very important.  The Sun can be viewed safely with the naked eye only during the few brief seconds or minutes of a total solar eclipse. Partial eclipses, annular eclipses, and the partial phases of total eclipses are never safe to watch without taking special precautions. Even when 99% of the Sun's surface is obscured during the partial phases of a total eclipse, the remaining crescent is intensely bright and cannot be viewed safely without eye protection.   

Avoid Eye Damage
Looking directly at the Sun (the bright disk of the Sun itself), even for just a few seconds, can cause permanent damage to the retina of the eye, because of the intense visible and invisible radiation that the sun emits. This damage can result in impairment of vision, up to and including blindness. The retina has no sensitivity to pain, and the effects of retinal damage may not appear for hours, so there is no warning that injury is occurring.

Irreversible Eye Damage within a Fraction of a Second
Under normal conditions, the Sun is so bright that it is difficult to stare at it directly. However, during an eclipse, with so much of the Sun covered, it is easier and more tempting to stare at it. Looking at the Sun during an eclipse is as dangerous as looking at it outside an eclipse, except during the brief period of totality, when the Sun's disk is completely covered (totality occurs only during a total eclipse and only very briefly; it does not occur during a partial or annular eclipse). Viewing the Sun's disk through any kind of optical aid (binoculars, a telescope, or even an optical camera viewfinder) is extremely hazardous and can cause irreversible eye damage within a fraction of a second


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Back to School! Back To Scouts!

Most of Pack 1910 had their first day of school today! So, with a new year is a fresh set of crayons (don't you just love the smell of a fresh box of crayons?), sharpened pencils, new shoes and new friends! It's also time for new adventures... new rank... new skills... new challenges... In short, It's back to scouting!

The beginning of school starts the beginning of our recruiting season so if you know someone who may be interested in Cub Scouts... invite them to one of our activities!

It's nothing big... Ya know, just things like...





Knife skills 

(yes, they really learn how to properly use a pocket knife)

First Aid

Community Service


... and cool experiences like overnights at Fossil Rim... The Perot Museum... the USS Lexington... or visiting cool places like the police department... the fire station... or even the Texas Capitol... 

Who WOULDN'T want to join?  Bring a friend and come to the Raingutter Regatta August 26 from 3-6 at the Scout House! 

It's time for back to school... so that means it's time to get back to Scouts!

Are you ready for YOUR next adventure?  Join Cub Scout Pack 1910 today!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Raingutter Regatta, Registration and Recruitment (R4)

We are a couple of weeks away from our last Pack summer adventure -- the Annual Raingutter Regatta.  This is our highly anticipated end of summer back to school blast and we look forward to seeing you all there.

UMC-Keller Scout House
1025 Johnson Road

Kits will be available next week. Watch for an e-mail from Scoutbook! If you can't wait or want to make more than one kit (for a sibling), the kits are also readily available at the Scoutshop on Cannon Drive. 

The "official" rules and regulations on this event can be found by clicking {HERE} Be sure that you have logged into Scoutbook and RSVP'd so that we know you're coming. Big things to note -- use the kit, be sure to paint it so that the wood is sealed, don't attach the sail, but most importantly -- HAVE FUN!

What to bring?
  • Completed regatta boat
  • Portable camp chairs for your family
  • Drinks for your family
This is a BRING YOUR OWN DRINK event. No glass containers please.

We will be cooking hot dogs for the family too!  Come join the fun. Each scout who participates earns a raingutter regatta patch for their brag vest.

Have a friend interested in Scouting? This is a great introductory activity to show them all the fun we have in Pack 1910. This is the official day to JOIN PACK 1910!

This is our August sign-up night so if you have a friend interested, pick up a peer-to-peer recruiting card from April and have your friend turn it when they join!  In return, your scout earns his RECRUITER patch!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Ten Things All Parents Should Know About Cub Scouts

The Utah Parks Council (which is a fantastic source of information for those Scouting nerds like myself who enjoy garnering as much information as they can from all types of sources across the Scouting-world), published an article recently and I wanted to share part of it with you because... well, it's so true and it's great information to keep in your forethought when you're getting into the program.

Whether you grew up in the Scouting program, or are completely new to the idea of the Boy Scouts of America, know that you don't have to come from a Scouting background to be a great Scouting leader -- you simply have to believe in the program and have a desire to make a positive influence on the youth that surround you -- including your own son!

So, that being said, here are 10 things all parents should know about cub scouts

1) Cub Scouts is amazing, and the program encourages moral choices and behavior. The more you learn, the more you’ll like it.

2) Cub Scouts requires resources: time, people, money. It requires more than a meeting... Boys need uniforms, handbooks, etc. Boys also meet more frequently the higher the ranking in the program.

3) If the program isn’t run well, it’s just a pain and won’t accomplish its purposes. It takes PEOPLE, however, to make that happen!  By the way, that means YOU!

4) Den leaders are crucial to the success of Cub Scouts. This is an important calling. Boys want leaders who inspire, prepare, and are fun.

5) Cub Scouts is fun! Fun is so important! Cubs are young and active, and Scouting shouldn’t just be like school. LEARN BY DOING!

6) Faith in God and Cub Scouts are not mutually exclusive. The two programs go hand-in-hand, so remember to connect them.

7) Training for leaders and two-deep leadership is not optional. Training teaches leaders, and two-deep leadership protects leaders and boys. Every boy deserves a well-trained leader!

8) Den meeting is for working on advancement, not just goofing around so parents can do the work at home. Even though they should have fun, they should be working towards goals and learning (learning can be fun too). 

9) That being said, no boy will ever advance without the support of his family. He needs you!

10) A well functioning Cub Scout Pack leads to experienced, confident, excited 5th graders who love Scouting... and who move onto Boy Scouts to continue to discover their leadership skills and potential.

From school to work to home to sports to youth to scouts, we get that you are swamped with responsibilities, but helping to keep your eyes on the purposes of the program and knowing that a plan is in place for you to follow will help make it a success for everyone!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Updated Calendars

There are so many opportunities for fun in the year ahead!  We have been hard at work confirming dates and securing campsites so that you can plan ahead!  Be sure to check out the calendars for updated dates!  You can get yours below.  We have a one year / one page calendar or a monthly calendar.  

Click HERE for the ONE YEAR AT A GLANCE calendar.

Click HERE for the MONTHLY Pack calendars.

Both calendars are also available on the Pack's blog along the left hand margin.  Scroll down to the FORMS section. 

Also, if you are ever in a pinch, remember that the Scoutbook calendar is always up to date and general information is always available on the blog's calendar page (it's synced with Scoutbook!) 

We want our parents to be in the know!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Calling All Superheroes!

Every superhero needs a side kick and our Pack's leadership is no exception!

We NEED A SIDE KICK for our popcorn kernel IMMEDIATELY to help ensure slots are filled for our Show And Sell locations, to help solicit prime locations for Show And Sell opportunities, to ensure product is set up, maybe to help with a last minute restock, to help with pick up and/or delivery of popcorn, to help process the take orders for accuracy, to help check paperwork when forms are turned in... easy peasy!

This awesome side kick position is great for someone who might not have all the time to commit to a full time volunteer position but knows that even these SMALL amounts of help have a BIG IMPACT on our Pack!  We need you to dust off your tights... grab that cape...and be our much needed side kick!

Please e-mail Jennifer Woodruff HERE to let her know you're ready to be HER SUPERHERO!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Committee / Parent Meeting is Tomorrow!


The Pack Committee helps ensure that our Cub Scouts are offered fun-filled and meaningful events through the year. 

Parents please attend and help enrich and strengthen our Pack. Topics include upcoming pack meeting plans, assignments for the next month and upcoming large-scale activities.  

We have a few leadership roles we would love to have filled and just by coming to these meetings -- you could help the Pack tremendously!  You can RSVP on Scoutbook or just show up!  The meeting agenda link will be posted in the Comments field below the event on the ScoutBook calendar.  We ask that you please print your own (no wasted paper).

The meeting is at 7pm at the Scout House on Monday, July 31.  We will be finalizing the budget, discussing fundraising, addressing leadership, finalizing the fall camp out, making plans for back-to-school recruitment and the raingutter regatta and more.  Come join us!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Mabel's Labels Fundraiser

Believe it or not, it's time to start thinking about BACK TO SCHOOL shopping!  You'll be needing to label lunch boxes, waterbottles, athletic wear, shoes, jackets, school supplies, backpacks and we have partnered up for a fundraiser with one of the best sites for personalized labels -- namely, Mabel's Labels.  

You can visit Mabel's Labels by clicking THIS LINK.  You will be taken to the fundraising action page.  Under the box on the left, click the orange bar to scroll down and find "CUB SCOUT PACK 1910".  This will take you to our Pack's page within the Mabel's Labels fundraising selections.  From there... start checking out all their awesome options! 

I can attest that the quality is TOP NOTCH... dishwasher safe, waterproof, microwave safe... I've put them on everything from favorite blankets to stuffed animal tags to Matchbox cars to Scout handbooks to backpacks to sippy cups to headphones to every... single... solitary piece of camping equipment my Boy Scouts own --including their eating utensils, chairs and sleeping bags!

You needn't be part of Cub Scout Pack 1910 to order so feel free to invite your family and friends to do their back to school shopping here too!!  

Oh, and did I mention -- FREE SHIPPING?!  

Monday, July 17, 2017

Enter The Boy's Life 2017 Say Yes To Reading Contest!

Write a one-page report titled “The Best Book I Read This Year” and enter it in the Boys’ Life 2017 “Say Yes to Reading!” contest.

The book can be fiction or nonfiction. But the report has to be in your own words — 500 words tops. Enter in one of these three age categories:
  • 8 years old and younger
  • 9 and 10 years old
  • 11 years old and older

First-place winners in each age category will receive a $100 gift card from Second-place winners will receive a $75 gift card; third-place winners, a $50 gift card.

Everyone who enters will get a free patch like the one on this page. (And, yes, the patch is a temporary insignia, so it can be worn on the Boy Scout uniform shirt, on the right pocket. Proudly display it there or anywhere!) In coming years, you’ll have the opportunity to earn different patches.

The contest is open to all Boys’ Life readers. Be sure to include your name, address, age and grade in school on the entry.

Send your report, along with a business-size, self-addressed, stamped envelope, to:

Boys’ Life Reading Contest
P.O. Box 152079
Irving, TX 75015-2079

Entries must be postmarked by Dec. 31, 2017 and must include entry information and a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Texas Badge

The Texas Badge is an extra badge that the boys can earn and wear as temporary insignia. In other words, it's a temporary patch that is usually hanging from the button or inserted into a plastic sleeve that is hanging from that button so that you may proudly display said awesome patch that they want to wear as part of their record of awesomeness!

Here is a handy-dandy visual aid for your insignia placement viewing pleasure.

But, I digress, back to The Texas Badge.  Printable here

How awesome that you can EARN AN AWARD just for learning some amazing things about this amazing state.

  • Be an active Cub Scout or Webelos Scout registered in a Pack in Texas. (well, you've all got THAT covered, don'tcha?!  NEXT!
  • Name the State bird (printable here.)
  • State flower (printable here)
  • State motto - Friendship
  • Sing or recite the words of "Texas, Our Texas"(here)

  • Draw the six flags of Texas. Tell something important that happened when Texas was under each flag.  Here's a great resource to use. The flags they draw can be any size they want.
  • Name a famous Texas. Tell why that person is famous, and what you like or dislike about him or her.  There are a TON of these to choose from:  
    • Stephen F. Austin, Davy Crockett among hundreds of others. Try HERE or HERE
  • Visit a historical place in Texas. Tell about the important events, which happened there. If you go on the USS Lexington with us in September, you'll be covered for sure!

  • Read a story about any Texas subject (fiction or non-fiction). Tell what you learned from the story. 
  • Find out about the Indians who lived near your community at any time. Tell about some of their history and customs. If you have already done any of these requirements for another Cub Scout or Webelos Scout award, you must do something different for the Texas Badge. For example, if you visited a historical place for another Cub Scout or Webelos Scout award, you should visit a different historical place for the Texas Badge.  Amazing resource here. 
Once your son has completed all of the requirements for the Texas Badge, complete the application and turn it into your den leader to validate the completion of the criteria for earning the badge. 

Great American Campout - Take the Pledge!

June 24 is the 13th annual Great American Campout sponsored by The National Wildlife Federation features 5,000 new reasons to pledge online to camp between NOW through the end of October 2017. So, if you can't camp on THE DAY... it's okay you can still pledge because we WILL be camping between now and October!  SO GO PLEDGE HERE NOW!  

This initiative is a summer long way to encourage camping which connects you with nature and wildlife.  I mean, think about it -- you can't fully appreciate it if you never are out in it!  Right?

It doesn't matter if you're camping in a tent, in a cabin, in your backyard, in a national forest or in an RV -- just GET OUT THERE AND CAMP between now and October! 

Jeff Probst, Executive Producer and host of CBS' Survivor and avid outdoorsman, serves as this year's celebrity spokesperson. The National Wildlife Federation's beloved wildlife ambassador, Ranger Rick, will help young campers join the fun and excitement with family-friendly downloadable camping activities, recipes, and books.

Richard Louv penned Last Child In The Woods. If you haven't read it, I encourage you to do so. I fully believe that the more and more commercial driven, label seeking, persuasively marketable we have made ourselves, the further the disconnect between us and nature.  That's why we strive to keep the OUT in scOUTing. We need nature! The best thing you can do is to DISCONNECT from your screens and CONNECT outside! So, take the pledge to join us at least once before the deadline!

Collin O'Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation states, "Reconnecting with nature inspires us to care for what we love and rekindles the conservation ethic that lives inside each of us. When you can be present in nature and experience a connection – when you look into a tree and see the eyes of a great horned owl staring back at you – it reminds us of our responsibility to take action and protect the things we value most."

Read more about the initiative HERE.  

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Summer STEM Camps

We are so lucky to be part of the amazing Longhorn Council for so many reasons. Not only do they have an amazing program schedule for scouts Council-wide all year long, but they also have an amazing summer STEM program for boys and girls in grades K-6.

For more information, click on the image below or contact the Longhorn Activity Center at or by calling (817) 231-8537.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Cub Scouts Has a Great Purpose

One of the best gifts you can give your kid through Scouting is a whole new family... all of you!  Values that last a life time.

National Fishing & Boating Week

June 3-11 is National Fishing and Boating Week.  All over the country people are encouraged to get outside and get on the water.

Check out THIS LINK for all the details for events nationwide. A big perk of this week? FREE FISHING! Experienced anglers are encouraged to bring a newbie onto the water to experience the thrill of the catch.  Texas' free fishing day is Saturday, June 3.

There's information to teach you how to fish, find places to fish, and even get a fishing license online.

The best way to explore this national week is to get outside and get on the water!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

June - A Scout is Brave

The BSA point of the Scout Law for this month is Brave -- by definition, the polar opposite of fear. Although, I believe that both can be equally crippling. Being brave doesn't mean you're not afraid... bravery is actually to continue to move forward despite being afraid and frankly, it's something quite different for each and every one of us. 

Bravery could mean something as simple as standing on top of the monkey bars to a Tiger scout or signing your name on the line to dedicate your life serving in our nation's military.  Bravery can be conquering Mt. Everest or having the courage to stand up before strangers to deliver a speech. It could be going away for the first time ever to camp without the creature comforts to which you've grown accustomed... to walking into the meeting of a brand new Pack and trying to make friends with people you don't know. 

Bravery is saying no to the wrong thing. 

Bravery can be having the courage to quit when you know the path by which you travel is not the one you intended.  Listening to that inner voice rather than the masses of people that you may have surrounded yourself with.. is very brave.

Being okay with being different... is brave. 

Bravery is... showing up... in every sense of the word.

{I do have to put a disclaimer here though -- don't let me allow ANYONE to confuse being brave with being stupid because the internet is FULL of people doing really, REALLY stupid things that don't equate to an OUNCE of bravery.} 

Thanks, I feel better now.

Every month in the Boy's Life magazine there is a feature called Scouts In Action.  Many of their stories highlight scouts all over the world who showed bravery.  Check out some of those stories the next time it arrives in your mailbox.  In fact, here's a link to the site with the previously published Scouts in Action pages from the magazine.

So taking on the idea of bravery... did you know that a Scout can face danger even if he is afraid... that's being brave.  Think of all the things people are afraid of.  I'll bet that one of the top fears on more lists than you could even fathom is... 

 !!  SNAKES  !! 

There are lots of people who believe that the only good snake is a dead snake but there couldn't be anything further from the truth. Snakes are beneficial to our ecosystem in more ways than you can imagine. The way to learn to be brave if you're afraid of them is by educating yourself to identify the venomous snakes you might come across so that when you see anything other, you can simply appreciate them (and... perhaps spray them with a water hose to get them to go away if you're still not a fan).

Shaun Hayes has one of my favorite Instagram accounts @tx_snakewrangler and he has given me permission to use his photos for this post.  They're beautiful and amazing and I'm so grateful for his love of herping which enables me to share with you ways to identify these creatures.  Because, the more you know...the more you grow! Please check him out on YouTube too right here.

Coral Snake
  • Coral snakes have one of the strongest venoms of any snake, but because of their small jaws they are not considered as dangerous as rattlesnakes.
  • The snakes are usually between 18 and 20 inches long. Some grow to be 3 feet long.
  • They can be as skinny as a pencil.
  • Their heads are small and look like their tails.
  • Their fangs are always out because they cannot pull them back into their mouths. 
  • There is a harmless king snake that looks so much like the coral snake that people made up a rhyme about their coloring. However, it is a good idea to never pick up any snake unless there is an adult with you. The rhyme is: “Red and yellow, kill a fellow; “Red and black, just stay back.” So, if the red bands touch the yellow bands, you know it's a coral snake.
  • Coral snakes live in a variety of habitats, ranging from marshes to woods and sand hills. They also like to sleep under rotting leaves. They are often found in suburban areas as well. 
  • They eat lizards and other small snakes. 
  • They lay eggs. Babies are 7 inches long when they hatch and are fully venomous. 
  • Most people who are bitten receive the bite when they pick up the snakes or step on them with bare feet.
Here is a photo of a coral snake. See if you can find the head. See how the red touches yellow? 

  • Copperhead snakes get their name from their copper-red heads. 
  • They are pit vipers and have heat-sensing pits on their faces that help them detect prey. 
  • Copperheads have wide, muscular bodies with hourglass-shaped markings. 
  • They average between 2 and 3 feet long. 
  • They live in many different environments, including rocky areas, woods, and mountains; near streams, desert oases, and canyons. Nearer to humans, they also love to live in wood and sawdust piles, abandoned and overgrown yards, and old construction areas. 
  • Although they hunt alone, they are social and hibernate in dens with many other snakes. 
  • Copperheads eat mice and other small rodents, small birds, lizards, amphibians, small snakes, and insects. 
  • They use their pits to sense heat and track prey. After they bite large prey, they wait until the prey dies and then eat it. 
  • Adults sometimes eat only 10 to 12 meals a year if the meal is a larger animal. 
  • Babies are born live with fangs and venom as dangerous as an adult snake’s. 
  • Copperheads give no warning and will strike almost immediately if they feel threatened.

See how the pattern looks like Hershey Kisses? That's a characteristic indicative of one species of copperhead.

This is a broad banded copperhead.
Another view of a copperhead.

  • A rattlesnake’s warning sounds are hissing and rattling of its tail. 
  • Rattlers can grow to be 1 to 7 feet long. 
  • They have a distinctly triangular head. 
  • Every time a rattlesnake sheds its skin, another ring is added to the rattle on its tail. 
  • Rattlesnakes live in many different environments in North and South America. They can live anywhere from desert sands to grasslands, scrub brush, rocky hills, and swamps. They can live in high elevations, up to 11,000 feet. 
  • Texas has NINE native species of rattlers. I've only seen four in my life.
  • Generations of rattlesnakes can use the same dens for hundreds of years. 
  • They give birth every two years to live babies. 
  • They can live up to 30 years. 
  • Rattlesnakes eat small rodents, reptiles, and insects. 
  • Their strike is extremely fast. 
  • They eat about every two weeks. 
  • Most rattlesnake strikes on humans happen when the snakes are stepped or sat upon.
Diamondback rattle snake. The rattle...and diamond pattern give this one away, no?  There is an Eastern Diamondback and a Western Diamondback -- each has a coloration to help it blend in with its environment.

This is a massasauga rattler. Distinctive by the rattle (shocker) and the Pac Man pattern.

This is an Eastern Timber rattlesnake

Cottonmouth a.k.a. Water mocassin 
  • Cottonmouths are the only venomous water snake in North America, but they are also happy soaking up the heat on land. 
  • They have a triangular head and a thick body. 
  • They are also commonly called water mocassins. 
  • They are called cottonmouths because they open their mouths wide when they are threatened. The inside of the mouth is white, like cotton. 
  • They are pit vipers. 
  • Cottonmouths range from 2 to 4 feet long. 
  • They have dark vertical lines by each nostril and pale snouts. 
  • They can be found in swamps, marshes, drainage ditches, ponds, lakes, and streams or sunning themselves on land nearby. 
  • They swim with their heads out of the water. 
  • They eat fish, birds, amphibians, lizards, baby alligators, turtles, small mammals, and other snakes. 
  • Babies are born live in litters of up to 20. 
  • When threatened, cottonmouths will coil up, open their mouths, and expose their fangs.

See how white his mouth is? That's how they got their name. People try to say they're aggressive but you can see video after video of these and they stay coiled and rarely strike. I'm not saying they won't but they are not the monsters they are made out to be. Notice the sharp taper from thick to tail. Very good way to learn to ID these as they are not a slight taper like many snakes are. They go from thick to tail - BAM!
Another beautiful view of how they go from fat to end. Another reason, too, not to go sticking your hand in holes if you don't know what's in it. I zoomed in on this picture, below, too, because I want you to see the mouth and banded eyes. 

Juvenile cotton mouth - showing you some of the variations of coloration. Their tails also have a greenish tip when they're babies, too.

Wanted to show you a SIDE VIEW of the head of a water moccasin / cotton mouth. See how the brown band runs fully along their eyes? That's another way to help you ID this species. 
If anything, nature shows us ways that camouflage and pattern mimicry help species survive and avoid predation.  For instance, the photo below shows two diamondback water snakes with a broadbanded water snake. These are constantly misidentified as cottonmouth snakes. I have personally seen more than one photo posted on Facebook (after they have been killed) by people SWEARING they're cottonmouths. I promise not every snake is a cottonmouth. 

Speaking of mimicry... I want to draw your attention to how these NON VENOMOUS snakes can flatten their heads to LOOK largely triangular (which people like to say is indicative of venomous snakes). Lots of snakes learn ways to appear big and bad so they're not messed with. Another reason to educate yourself. 

This plain bellied watersnake is frequently confused with a cottonmouth. See the vertical bars along its mouth? That's another way to identify this harmless, nonvenomous species.

Below is a video posted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to help you see these species moving in the wild.

And if just watching this gave you the heebie jeebies -- thanks for being brave and making it to the end!