When the water moccasin is threatened, it is known to stand its ground with a coiled body, open mouth and exposed fangs, and will bite when handled or threatened. The water moccasin’s venom is more toxic than a copperhead’s, but fatalities from bites are rare. 7% of all snake bites in Texas are from cottonmouth snakes, but those bites account for only 1% of death by snakebite.
Water Moccasin or Western Cottonmouth
Agkistrodon piscivorus leucostoma
Distribution: Aquatic and semi-aquatic habitats in the eastern United States (excluding the Florida cottonmouth range), including southern Illinois to Alabama, west to Oklahoma and Texas. Usually found around ponds, swamps, marshes, lowland swamps, irrigation ditches and streams, though they can be found in dryer environments.
Diet in the Wild: Primarily fish and frogs, but will eat a wide variety of small vertebrates including other snakes.
Diet at Caldwell Zoo: Mice
IUCN Red List Status: Least concern, population stable
The water moccasin is also known as the cottonmouth snake, a name derived from the bight white coloration inside its mouth which it displays when threatened.