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Water-Moccasin, Cottonmouth

Categories: Viii Little Foes Of The Trailer

The water-moccasin is ugly, and ugly all the way through. Its deadly

viciousness is not redeemed by any outward beauty. Its average length is

three and a half feet, though it is occasionally longer. Its unlovely

body is thick and the color of greenish mud; the sides are paler and

have wide, blackish bands. There are dark bands from the eyes to the

mouth and above them there are pale streaks. The top of the head is very

dark. The abdomen is yellow with splashes of brown or black. Heavy

shields overhang the eyes and give a sinister expression to their angry

glare. When suddenly approached the moccasin opens wide its white-lined

mouth, and one then understands why it is called cottonmouth.

This snake does not coil before its strikes, but vibrates its tail

slowly and watches its prey with mouth open. The moccasin is decidedly a

southern snake, and girls of the south know that its home is along the

edges of bayous and in the swamps. It is frequently seen with its head

and a small part of its body out of water while the rest is submerged,

but at times it will be found on a water-soaked log or on underbrush and

low boughs of trees that overhang the water. The bite is very poisonous.