|Encyclopedia of Life - Cottonmouth|
|Cottonmouth or "water moccasin" (Agkistrodon piscivorus) Photo Gallery|
This is the venomous snake of the swamps, marshes, lakes and steams of the Southeast USA. When confronted by a perceived threat, the Cottonmouth will often coil up and gape (mouth wide open) exposing its fangs and white interior, hence the name. This defensive display is an eye catching warning, often accompanied by tail rattling, a tactic not restricted to rattlesnakes and one seen throughout much of the snake world.
Opportunistic feeders, it will eat most any small animal it can catch with fish making up a large part of its diet. As is the case with all American pit vipers, they are ovoviviparous producing an average of 6 live babies during the summer. They posses a potent venom. Bites often result in tissue damage which can be severe if not properly treated with anti-venom. However, fatalities are extremely rare.
During the 1950's a snake of unknown species boarded the boat of two duck hunters near South Florida's Tamiami Trail. Believing it to be a Cottonmouth, one of the men while attempting to kill the snake shot out the bottom of their boat. In addition to panic and firearms, alcohol may have been involved.
|All photographs with © Reptile World Serpentarium specimens|