Water Moccasin

Today we will talk about this venomous snake, its name is Water Moccasin. They are semi-aquatic animals. It is famous for its bite. They are known by various names so do not get confused. To know about their bite, where they live, and their conservation status read this blog. 

Water Moccasin Snake

  • They have blocky heads with big jowls and robust, muscular bodies covered in keeled, or wrinkled, scales.
  • Their pupils are upright and have dark stripes adjacent to each nostril, similar to cat pupils.
  • They range in hue from dark brown to black to olive, banded brown, or yellow.

Common Name

Cotton Mouth is the common name for Water Moccasin. 

Physical description

Due to the venom glands, they have huge, triangular heads with a dark line through the eye, elliptical pupils, and large jowls. To know more about their look read below:


They are huge, keeled-scaled, heavy-bodied snakes that range in size from 24 to 48 inches (61 to 122 cm).

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They can be elegantly decorated with dark crossbands on a brown and yellow ground color, or entirely brown or black.

3 Subspecies

  • Water Moccasin are found in eastern and southern Oklahoma, east and central Texas, and west and south Georgia.
  • They are found in southeast Virginia, south through the Florida peninsula, and west to Arkansas in eastern and southern Oklahoma, east and central Texas, and west and south Georgia.
  • They have also been seen in small numbers on offshore islands of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

Life History

  • They are native to the United States, with their range stretching from southeastern Virginia to Florida, west to central Texas, and north to southern Illinois and Indiana.
  • Swamps, marshes, drainage ditches, ponds, lakes, and streams are among the aquatic and wetland habitats they like.

Behavior & Lifestyle

  • They have a bad image for being violent, yet they only bite humans when they are picked up or trodden on.
  • They may use defensive actions to defend themselves against potential predators, including people.
  • They’re solitary beings. They might be active at any hour of the day or night.
  • They are frequently seen coiled or stretched out someplace in the shade on bright, sunny days.
  • They are frequently spotted basking in the sunlight in the morning and on cool days.


  • They are opportunistic feeders who eat a wide range of aquatic and terrestrial prey, including amphibians, lizards, snakes (including lesser cottonmouths), small turtles, juvenile alligators, mammals, birds, and, most notably, fish.


  • In the wild, it lives for less than ten years.
  • Cottonmouth snakes, on the other hand, can live far longer in captivity, with at least one captive cottonmouth reaching the age of 24.

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Habitat & Range

  • They can be found in nearly all freshwater settings, but cypress swamps, river floodplains, and densely planted wetlands are the most common.
  • They will travel overland and can be found far from permanent water sources.


  • Because they are ovoviviparous, water moccasins incubate their eggs within the mother’s body.
  • They carry 10-20 eggs on average and give birth every 2-3 years.
  • The females will give birth 3-4 months after mating in the spring, at which point the young will be on their own.


There is no such data related to this query. 

Conservation Status

  • Cottonmouth populations in the local area may be threatened by wetland drainage for agriculture, development, and human disturbance or death.
  • Cottonmouths, on the other hand, are classified as a species of least concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(opens in new tab), which means that the species faces a low risk of extinction across nearly all of its range.
  • They have a wide distribution, and the IUCN believes that the population is substantial and steady.
  • The IUCN, on the other hand, last examined the species in 2007, and the organization indicates that it needs to be updated.

Water Moccasin Bites 

  • They are one of the world’s most venomous snakes, with venom capable of incapacitating animals and even people. Their bites and venom have even resulted in death in some cases.
  • They have a reputation for being extremely hazardous due to their venom and the force of their bites. Cottonmouths, on the other hand, are not aggressive and would rarely attack.
  • Cottonmouths frequently bite humans when they are picked up or trodden on. Their long fangs are mostly used to catch prey, but they may also bite and threaten a potential predator or humans.
  • Their bite can lead to serious problems such as muscle damage, loss of an extremity, internal bleeding, and intense pain in the wounded area.
  • Cottonmouth venom affects tissues in general, therefore a bite may cause swelling, cell death, and degradation. It also functions as an anticoagulant, preventing blood clots from forming. 
  • Cottonmouth bites can cause serious consequences or even death if your blood pressure is too high.

Water Moccasin Fatalities

  • Although death from a water moccasin bite is a rare occurrence, the bite wounds are not minor.
  • Water Moccasin can cause scars or possibly necessitate amputation of a leg or arm.
  • Antivenom medications are used to assist the body fight the venom as quickly as possible.

Water Moccasin Swimming

  • Because they are semiaquatic, they can swim in water (thus their other popular name, water moccasin) as well as bask on land.
  • They are the only venomous snake in the United States that spends a lot of time in the water.
Water Moccasin Swimming
Water Moccasin Swimming

How to Identify a Water  Moccasin?

  • Look for its wedge-shaped, blocky head (you can’t see its eyes from above, as in a boat), heat-sensing slits beneath and between its eyes and snout, and its olive, dark tan, dark brown, or virtually black body.

 Do Water Moccasins Bite Underwater?

  • They are semi-aquatic snakes, meaning they may be found on land as well as in water.
  • Cottonmouths can bite you underwater, but they only do so when provoked or when they feel threatened.
  • According to research published in the Tropical Journal of Medicine and Hygiene, 80 percent of the bites documented underwater were on the lower legs, indicating that the victims may have trodden on them while in the water.

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Are Water Moccasins Dangerous to Humans?

They are known as the most venomous snakes in the wild. They are particularly dangerous to humans since their venom is extremely strong and can be fatal if not treated quickly. But remember one thing they do not chase people intentionally. They only bite in self-defense.

Some of the symptoms which say that it is a water moccasin bite:

  • Signs of shock
  • Breathing quickly or with difficulty
  • Skin discoloration
  • Lymph nodes near the bite site swell
  • Intense and sudden pain, as well as fast swelling
  • Heart rate variations
  • In the mouth, there is a metallic, minty, or rubbery taste
  • Tingling or numbness in the mouth, foot, scalp, tongue, or bite site.

Reference Link

Water Moccasin-FAQ

How to identify a water moccasin?

They have a single row of scales on the underside of their tail (identical to the belly scales), whereas Water Snakes have a double row (Caution: Scale traits should only be investigated on dead snakes and shed skins if the species is unknown).

Are Water Moccasins aggressive?

It is said that they are aggressive but it is not the case. 

How poisonous is a Water Moccasin?

The venom in Water Moccasin bites is lethal to both animals and humans. Muscle injury, internal bleeding, amputation of an extremity, and severe pain at the bite site are all possible outcomes of these bites. Because their venom affects tissues, their bite can result in swelling, cell death, and degradation.

What is a Water Moccasin?

The cottonmouth, also known as the water moccasin, gets its name from the white color of the interior of its mouth, which shows when the snake gapes to defend itself.

What color is a Water Moccasin?

It is a large, dark-colored snake with a hefty body that can reach a length of 2-4 feet. Cottonmouths in their juvenile stage are brown or tan in hue with darker, reddish brown crossbands and numerous speckles down the back. The tail ends of juveniles are similarly bright yellow.