The cottonmouth (also known as a water moccasin) is a highly venomous pit viper that spends most of its life near water.
Cottonmouth Scientific Classification
Scientific name
Agkistrodon piscivorus
Cottonmouth Physical Characteristics
Brown, Black, Olive
Up to 10 years
Cottonmouth Distribition

The cottonmouth (likewise referred to as a water moccasin) is a very poisonous pit viper that invests a lot of its life near the water.

Cottonmouths are thought about to be among minority semi- aquatics snakes in the globe. They can often be seen swimming in both freshwater and deep sea locations. There are typically 2 species: the north cottonmouth and the Florida cottonmouth. This write-up will certainly cover some fascinating realities regarding the recognition, environment, diet, life expectancy, and dimension of both species.

What’s the distinction in between a cottonmouth vs. a water moccasin?

There is no distinction. They are merely 2 various names for the specific very same species.

5 Cottonmouth Fantastic Truths

  • The cottonmouth passes several names, consisting of the water moccasin, overload moccasin, rustic moccasin, and black moccasin. A moccasin is basically a sort of footwear or sandal made from natural leather.
  • The cottonmouth can pick to mate any time throughout the whole year, yet its reproductive period normally happens in April and May. In order to draw in a companion, the male cottonmouth will certainly do a fight dancing in which he slinks backward and forward and waves his tail. Males will certainly likewise deal with each various other for accessibility to females. Cottonmouths are believed to be virginal.
  • Females will certainly bring to life approximately 5 to 9 online young at once (16 is normally the optimum number) after a gestation duration of 5 months. Nonetheless, as a result of predators, just 2 or 3 young will normally make it to their adult years. It takes regarding 3 years for female to get to complete sex-related maturation (the sex-related maturation of the male is unidentified). If they endure, after that they have a regular life expectancy of 20 to 25 years.
  • The predators of adolescent or infant cottonmouths consist of eagles, egrets, raccoons, longnose gars, largemouth bass, and snapping turtles. Grown-up cottonmouths, by comparison, have extremely couple of predators.
  • Female cottonmouths can both sex-related and nonsexual recreation. This indicates they can create young in the lack of males (although at the price of hereditary variety).

Where to Discover Cottonmouths

Cottonmouths can be located all year- round in numerous marine areas, consisting of cypress swamps, river floodplains, lakes, bays, and marshes, throughout the southeastern USA. Their array prolongs right approximately southerly Illinois and west to Texas; there is likewise a little overlap in Florida in between the north cottonmouth and the Florida cottonmouth. They such as to invest their days basking near logs, rocks, and branches near the place of the water’s side. The dimension of the snake’s region depends upon its physical dimension and sex (males often tend to have bigger house arrays).

Cottonmouth Scientific Name

The scientific name of the north cottonmouth is Agkistrodon piscivorus, whereas the Florida cottonmouth is called Agkistrodon conanti The genus name Agkistrodon basically indicates hook tooth (or a tooth like a fishhook) of the form of the fangs. The species name piscivorus basically indicates fish devourer or fish eater, whereas conanti is called in honor of kept in mind herpetologist Roger Conant.

The north vs. Florida cottonmouth difference just transpired in 2015. Prior to after that, there utilized to be 3 subspecies acknowledged: the eastern, western, and Florida cottonmouths. Nonetheless, based upon DNA evaluation, it was figured out to make the Florida cottonmouth its very own species and remove the eastern/western difference totally. That leaves us with 2 species, the Florida and north cottonmouths, and no subspecies. Both of these species are carefully pertaining to copperheads and the cantils in the very same genus of Agkistrodon.

Cottonmouth Populace & & Conservation Status

According to the IUCN Red Checklist, the snake is a species of least concern. While we do not have sufficient realities regarding populace numbers to make an appropriate price quote, this species does seem rather typical throughout a lot of its all-natural array. Nonetheless, the loss of marshes environments throughout the southerly USA does position a threat to specific cottonmouth populaces.

Exactly How to Determine Cottonmouths: Appearance and Summary

The grownup can get to anywhere in between 2 feet and 6 feet long with the biggest cottonmouth ever before tape-recorded gauging 74 inches in size. Males are commonly longer and larger, with even more ranges on the tail than their female equivalents. This ought to make the recognition of the sexes less complicated. The snake is characterized by a huge, spade- designed head, intense white mouths, and rotating bands of light and dark patterns. Black, brownish, and olive are one of the most typical shades; they assist the snake assimilate versus the surrounding atmosphere. Juveniles and infants are likewise rather unique from grownups. They have also more powerful contrasting bands of shades; the suggestion of the tail is often yellow or green too.

Exactly how to recognize the snake:

  • Big spade- designed head
  • Lengthy, thick, muscle body coming up to 6 feet in dimension
  • Black, brownish, and olive shades rotating in light and dark bands
  • Brilliant white mouths

You can review additionally regarding the kinds of cottonmouth snakes.

Cottonmouth Images

Side view of a Cottonmouth snake, ready to strike. The snake has a large spade-shaped head.
Profile of a Cottonmouth snake, prepared to strike. The snake has a huge spade- designed head.

KF2017/Shutterstock. com

Cottonmouth swimming in water. The snake has a long, thick, muscular body measuring up to 6 feet in size.
Cottonmouth swimming in water. The snake has a long, thick, muscle body coming up to 6 feet in dimension.

Seth LaGrange/Shutterstock. com

The cottonmouth is characterized by a large, spade-shaped head, bright white mouths, and alternating bands of light and dark patterns.
The cottonmouth is characterized by a huge, spade- designed head, intense white mouths, and rotating bands of light and dark patterns. Saddako

Cottonmouth: Exactly How Unsafe Are They?

These snakes have extremely powerful poison that damages the cells and creates substantial swelling and discomfort. It is typically much more unsafe than the copperhead poison yet much less so than the rattlesnake. The poison will certainly often leave irreversible marks and extremely seldom demands an amputation, yet it is practically never ever deadly also in the lack of therapy. Nonetheless, you ought to still look for clinical interest instantly after a bite. The antivenom is extremely efficient at lessening the impacts of the contaminant.

Cottonmouth Habits and Humans

Cottonmouths prevail throughout the south, and experiences with them are rather typical. Although fairly unsafe theoretically, cottonmouths often tend not to attack humans extremely usually in method. They prefer to flee and leave. Prior to striking, the snake will certainly offer a caution signal by shakings its tail, opening its mouth, and elevating its head in the air. They likewise have the capability to launch a poignant, nasty- scenting musk to discourage prospective dangers. Also if one did take place to attack you, nonetheless, they intentionally launch much less poison in a protective bite than an offending one versus their target.


  1. University of Georgia, Available here:
  2. Animal Diversity Web, Available here:

Relate animals

Abyssinian Guinea Pig

They are one of the oldest breeds of guinea pig

Ackie Monitor

The ackie monitor has a spiny tail which it uses as in self-defense.


The Albertonectes had the longest neck out of other Elasmosaurids.

American Bully

Though the American bully was bred to look intimidating, it makes an extremely friendly family pet!

Latest Animal News