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Water Moccasin / Cottonmouth


  • LIke all vipers, the head of the cotton mouth is angular and blunt
  • Average size is between 2 feet and 4 feet, although some individuals reach up to 6 feet
  • Diet consists primarily of fish and frogs

The water moccasin, also known as the cottonmouth, is a heavy bodied venomous pit viper, and the world’s only semi-aquatic viper. It spends most of its life in or near water and is a very strong swimmer. The snake is named for its threat display. When threatened the snake will bare its fangs at the threat revealing the white lining of its mouth. The cotton mouth is an aggressive snake and should be given plenty of space if encountered. Cottonmouths can vary widley in color and markings, especially young snakes, but most water moccasins are almost totally black.

The water moccasin can be distinguished from its harmless imitators, however any snake should be given a wide berth and should only be handled by a professional, especially if you suspect it may be venomous. Water moccasin’s have a very distinguished narrow neck and large body for its length, as well as a blocky, triangular head. Many water snakes will imitate the cotton mouth, however their bodies are much more slender, and neck is not distinct. When threatened, the water snake will push its body into the ground in order to look bigger and make its head appear wider and blockier. Even if you suspect the snake is a nonvenomous water snake, please call a pest control expert to remove the snake rather than approach it.

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