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The only poisonous water snake in Florida is the Cottonmouth, also known as the Water Moccasin.
Although this is a very dangerous and aggressive snake it is not as bad as it's reputation. It will not chase you and attack. If it feels cornered it will hold its ground.
If you live near a lake or wetlands it is common to see them.
Cottonmouths are usually mis-identified. There are a couple of other water snakes that look like Water Moccasins such as the Banded Water Snake. They are much more common and harmless.
Never try to identify
these snakes on your own. Stay
clear of them and call The Trapper
Please don't kill
snakes! Even the poisonous ones
are beneficial in that they keep
down the rodent populations.
FLORIDA COTTONMOUTH(Agkistrodon piscivorus conanti)
IDENTIFICATION: The Florida cottonmouth, or water moccasin, is a dark brown, very heavy-bodied snake. It is usually only about 3 feet long, but the record length goes to a snake over 6 feet long! The young cottonmouth is banded with alternating light and dark brown areas. The one feature found on both young and old cottonmouths is a dark brown eye stripe that begins at the nose and goes over the eyes to the back of the head.
RANGE AND HABITAT: These snakes are usually found in pine flatwoods, and in or near ponds and streams. They can be found in any fresh or brackish water habitat. The cottonmouth lives throughout most of the southeastern United States.
REPRODUCTION: Cottonmouths, as well as all pit vipers, do not lay eggs. The young develop inside their mothers in a "shell-less" egg. Mating can occur any time of the year, but the young are usually born in the summer. They have been known to have up to a dozen young at a time. They can only bear young every other year.
DIET: Its main food is frogs and fish, but a cottonmouth will eat just about anything it can catch. It uses its venom to kill the animal and then swallows it whole.
FUTURE: The Florida cottonmouth is a very abundant species. Its largest threat comes from man because people often have an exaggerated image of their temperament. They will often coil if cornered, but they rarely bite unless they are injured or stepped on. Like most animals, if it is left alone, it will leave people alone.