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Georgia's Reptiles and Amphibians

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Eastern/Florida Cottonmouth/Water Moccasin

Eastern Cottonmouth/Water Moccasin (Agkistrodon piscivorus piscivorus)
Florida Cottonmouth/Water Moccasin (Agkistrodon piscivrous conanti)


Flordia Cottonmouth/Water Moccasin
Found in Charlton County, Ga

Harmless Midland Water Snake

Midland Water Snake
Found in Cobb County; Click For Description


The Eastern Cottonmouth/Water Moccasin (Agkistrodon piscivorus piscivorus) and the Florida Cottonmouth/Water Moccasin (Agkistrodon piscivorus conanti) are large heavy-bodied venomous snakes. This snake has two names and cottonmouth is the more appropriate one and more widely used. This name is given because when the snake is threatened it will open its mouth and the lining of the mouth is cotton white. The other name is used since it lives near on in water and the skin feels like moccasin leather. The Eastern Cottonmouth has a brown to olive-brown background with dark crossbands. When they get older they often lose their coloration, and will become solid black. Florida Cottonmouth looks very similar to an Eastern but is usually a lot darker. One big difference is that the have two dark vertical bards on each side of the nose. The babies look a lot like baby copperheads and can be hard to distinguish. They also have the yellow tip to. Both subspecies average length is between 3ft to 4ft long. The maximum record for both subspecies was 7ft 2in.



Both subspecies of this snake lives mostly in cypress and tupelo swamps of the Deep South but they will live in almost any place which is located near water including marshlands, secluded river systems, ponds, lakes, and reservoirs



Both subspecies are very opportunistic feeders. Their diet will include frogs, fish, small mammals, baby alligators, baby turtles, salamanders, and other snakes. They are also known to eat dead animals right off the road.


Abundance and Behavior:

Both subspecies are very common in the Deep South parts of the southeast. They are NOT found are north of Atlanta. Lake Lanier and Lake Allatoona do not have them but people still swear that there are cottonmouths there. The only snakes in that area are harmless water snakes. They are very secretive snakes and most of the time does not come in contact with people that often. This snake gets confused with most water snakes. When threatened water snakes will puff up and almost completely looks like a cottonmouth. One way to tell if the snake is a cottonmouth is when it swims they will swim with almost their whole body out of the water, but the water snake swim mostly underwater. There is big misconception that the snakes you see in brush over hanging a creek, river, pond, lake, and other bodies of water are cottonmouths. Almost always it is a water snake and there is story of them falling into the boat and biting people. One other thing is that water snakes are very quick to learn of danger and will slide in the water immediately, but the moccasin is very slow to become aware of danger. If confronted most moccasins if they are not sure they can escape will stand their ground which gives people a big misconception that they are aggressive.


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Live and Let Live

All photos are taken by myself unless noted otherwise. All photos are Copyright 2005-2006. If you would like to use any of my photos just email me and I will be happy to let anyone use them.


Need Help Identifing a Snake In your area? First though look through the photos of the snakes and if still have questions email me at and I will take a look at it. And most likely be able to get you a correct anwser. Also please do not send me pictures of snakes that have been choped up into pieces. This really distresses me and I have gotten several emails where there were people who showed me pictures of snakes that they killed and all have turned out to be non-venomous.


Never Pick Up, Handle, or Try To Kill Any Venomous Snakes! Most Bites Occur That Way! Never Pick Up A Snake That You Are Uncertain About!


Disclaimer!!! Please do not do anything you see me do on this website. Some of these animals are very dangerous and I understand the risk of working with them. The bite from some of these animals can easily kill me or do extreme harm. If you do want to get into venomous herpeculture please do as much research as possible about them before considering working with them. Also I would suggest getting proper training from professional before working with them too. I do not accept any responsibility for anyone elses actions.