Cottonmouth
Agkistrodon piscivorous leucostoma

CLASS: Reptilia
ORDER: Squamata
SUBORDER: Serpentes
FAMILY: Viperidae

SIZE:
Up to 74 inches

RANGE:
North America; statewide in Louisiana

HABITAT:
Any aquatic area both permanent and temporary

DIET:
Wild - Mostly fish but will eat virtually any vertebrate prey small enough to swallow.
Zoo - Mice and rats

DESCRIPTION:
Long, heavy-bodied, dark brown or black; pattern of broad dark crossbands, belly brown; dark brown line from the eye to the angle of the jaw; a deep pit in the side of the head between the eye and the nostril; anal plate undivided.

FACTS:
Potent venom; large and ill-tempered; will coil tightly and expose white lining of the mouth to scare away intruders.

YOUNG:
5 - 20 live young usually born during August. Young are strikingly marked but colors fade as snakes mature. Young are born with lime green tails used to lure prey.

NOTES:
Many water snakes are mistaken for the cottonmouth, because they will react aggressively and look similar.

STATUS:
Abundant

REFERENCES:
"The Amphibians and Reptiles of Louisiana," Harold A. Dundee and Douglas A. Rossman