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 Western Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus leucostoma)

Western Cottonmouth | Agkistrodon piscivorus-leucostoma photo
Western Cottonmouth courtesy of Austin Reptile Service
Photograph by LA Dawson. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

Western Cottonmouth | Agkistrodon piscivorus-leucostoma photo
Animal courtesy of Austin Reptile Service
Photograph by LA Dawson. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

The Western Cottonmouth is the smallest of the three subspecies of Cottonmouth. It is similar to the Eastern Cottonmouth, A. p. piscivorus and the Florida Cottonmouth, A. p. conanti, except that they tend to become darker at a younger age. It does not usually have a light line bordering the dark cheek strip (this line is clearly defined in A. p. conanti and less obvious in A. p. piscivorus). Younger snakes have 10 to 15 dark cross bands.

Other Names
Water moccasin, Black moccasin, Blunt-tail moccasin

average 70cm, maximum about 100cm

lowland swamps, lakes, rivers, sloughs, irrigation ditches, rice fields and salt marshes

feeds on fish, mammals, birds, small reptiles

This species is ovoviviparous. Females give birth to 3-12 young (sometimes up to 16) in August or September. Newborn snakes are 15cm - 28 cm long

The Western Cottonmouth is found from southern Alabama along coast of the Gulf of Mexico to Texas, and north to Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana

Cottonmouths get their name from the white lining of the mouth cavity. When approached they may try to escape, but will put on a threat display if confronted. They are venomous and can give a dangerous bite. Bites can cause severe bleeding and damage to tissue. If bitten, seek immediate medical attention. Young cottonmouths have fully functional fangs and are also dangerous.

Order:Squamata (Serpentes)
Species:piscivorus leucostoma
Common Name:Western Cottonmouth

Relatives in same Genus
  Common Cantil (A. bilineatus bilineatus)
  Ornate Cantil (A. bilineatus taylori)
  Southern Copperhead (A. contortrix contortrix)
  Broad-banded Copperhead (A. contortrix laticinctus)
  Northern Copperhead (A. contortrix mokasen)
  Osage Copperhead (A. contortrix phaeogaster)
  Trans-pecos Copperhead (A. contortrix pictigaster)
  Florida Cottonmouth (A. piscivorus conanti)
  Eastern Cottonmouth (A. piscivorus piscivorus)

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