Q&A




I’m dedicating this section of the cottonmouth snake website to questions and answers. Obviously if your visiting this page you have an interest in these animals so please feel free to post any questions you like and I’ll do my best to give you a detailed response. If I don’t know the answer personally, I’m sure I have the resources available to locate them. Thanks again for stopping by and I look forward to helping you get to know the cottonmouth snake as much as possible. Also, please allow me plenty of time to reply as I live a pretty busy lifestyle between my large family, caring for my snake collection and working a full time job.




45 comments – What do you think?
45 Responses to “Question and Answer”

joe burrden diteko says:
March 4, 2013 at 6:11 am

i have realised that the cottonmouth snake where ever it goes there are flies. why is that the case?
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Trouble says:
March 1, 2013 at 10:18 pm

There was a snake on my awning yesterday and when I tried to remove him he sounded like a cat in a fight. Do you know what kind that would be? All I saw of him was a tan/light brown color. Any suggestions in case he returns?
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andy says:
January 9, 2013 at 11:02 pm

i saw a snake this week I have never seen before. i was hoping i could email you a picture in hopes you might be able to identify it. Please advise. thanks.
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Harvey Soules says:
January 9, 2013 at 6:56 am

Bleach will kill SNAKES.
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Harvey Soules says:
January 9, 2013 at 6:51 am

Carry a good squirt bottle with you while walking where you might run into a snake filled with bleach.
Bleach will kill a snake.
We had problem with them in Lathrop Mo., the the house we bought had a brick pile in the back yard full of snakes and, not being able to shoot in
the city I found that bleach would kill them.
If they are in water put the bleach in the water, it has the same effect.
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Doreen says:
December 9, 2012 at 5:27 am

We live on 6 acres and i am always encountering the cotton mouth. Today I was walking up to the front door and my 80 lb lab was going nuts and jumping at the door…oh how I should have paid attention. It was a 5-6 foot cotton mouth. The strange thing was I have a statue right by the door and the snakes mouth was around the nose of the statue. I could see the white inside the mouth and all this stuff pouring out of it’s mouth. I have never seen that before. Needless to say I RAN!!! This is the 6-7th cotton mouth i have walked up on in 10 years. At the back of the house we have a pool and we put in white shell…small shell. I have not had a snakes there in over 9 years. The shell WORKS!!!! Have never had one cross it to the pool either. At the front of our house about 200 feet away is a large pond and I’d love for them to stay down there. By the front door we have a decorative pond with beautiful stones and a water fall. I think what is happening is there must be a food source uner there, we are taking it out this weekend. Thank you for your site, very helpful.
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Angel says:
October 21, 2012 at 4:48 pm

I have always been told that a Water Moccasin bite is only harmful when you are bit in the water. I wanted to know if this is true at all?
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michael says:
October 7, 2012 at 9:33 pm

If and when cottonmouths do bite, where do they strike? I mean, will they usually strike at ankle or mid-lower leg level? Will wearing rubber boots repel a bite? I am out in he eastern NC woods hunting and figure it’s only a matter of time until I will encounter one.
Thanks,
Mike
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Tay says:
September 30, 2012 at 4:14 pm

I want to thank you for this website. Last night I found a cotton mouth on my back deck in the slow process of eating a huge rat, about 6 feet from my back door. The snake was about 3 feet long and pretty dark, but I could make out the pattern somewhat. I was frightened so I began to search how to kill a cotton mouth, and I came upon your site. You informed me that these snakes do not normally cause any problems when unprovoked. I began thinking how grateful I should be that it was eating a gigantic rat which might otherwise have come into my house. Your website made me realize my fear of the snake was an irrational one. I also read a post you made under someone else’s comment (who was bragging about killing cottonmouths)and you asked what the snakes had done to him or his family to deserve that. Which was obviously nothing.

Anyways, you really made me think, and you allowed me to watch the beauty of that snake eating a rat without having thoughts of killing it. Thanks again!
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Carter says:
September 27, 2012 at 12:30 am

Do cottonmouths come back to the same location to have their young year after year.
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Carter says:
September 25, 2012 at 11:34 pm

Do cottonmouths come back to the same place year after year to have thier young. Will gunnies keep them out of the yard. I have had six in the yard this year. Yoyng with the green tip on the tail about a foot long. Thank You Carter
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sharon kay says:
September 12, 2012 at 6:08 pm

we live in plant city fl. lots of rain in the past few weeks. We have a 5 acre stand of cypress trees which now are sitting in water 3 feet deep. the water, moccins are moving into our yard at an alarming rate. we are finding them under our steps in garage. this morning five on the dirt road between my house and the barn. yes i said five. my husband and son have to keep shot guns with them while on the tractor . good grief today they shot two rattle snakes.what can we do to inhibit them ?????? with 9 grand kids on the farm it is quite a worrie
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Pat says:
September 6, 2012 at 2:00 am

Larry-I’ve enjoyed your site. What brought me here is that I ran into a cottonmouth last nite just outside my gagage door. It slipped inside the garage but I coaxed it back outside with my cuban mop. I was thinking how to kill it but had to get a pic of it to see what it was and in the process found it to be very beautiful so I saved it by letting it be and it had slithered away when I went to check on it soon after. This is coming from someone who is extremely afraid of snakes. Yea I saved a snake!
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joyce miller says:
August 27, 2012 at 11:22 pm

its august 27th and i was wondering do cotton mouths have babies in the fall ? i saw a dead cottonmouth and there were small babies about 6 to 7 inches long beside her
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melinda says:
August 23, 2012 at 4:04 pm

i had one a cotton mouth iraised him free never got near him they are deadly if yougo near its terrortory they will killyou best to look at a far distance
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Kim says:
July 15, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Do I have to worry about being attacked by a cottonmouth on the pasquotank river
in northeast NC? It is a popular boating area. I haven’t heard of any attacks but I
know they are out there.
Thanks!
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Garrett says:
July 11, 2012 at 10:01 pm

I’ve been catching snakes since I was in high school in TX. Cottonmouths have always been my favorite. I’m stationed in eastern NC now & recently found a swampy area & these guys are every where. In the 3 trips I’ve made there I have seen 5 to 8 Cottonmouths. Caught a few each trip to include a monster size guy this past Saturday. I just get some good pics & video then let them go. Everything in your write up is accurate about these badass snakes. Which is why I like them so much. Most people wouldn’t catch one though. Another thing cool about them is how their pattern colors can be different. Most the younger ones do have more of nice pattern & the older big guys get darker. Haven’t seen a black one yet but have seen the banded gold & black, light brown, dark brown, light copperish tan & then ones where the pattern fades & blends down its body. I’m always impressed by there attitude & stand their ground most the time. Or just look at you to see if you’ll make the first move. I’ve noticed the younger ones are usually a little quicker to fight & show that white mouth. Most the big guys will kind of turn around slow & go the other way like they’re not too concerned. I took 3 of my Marines out with me Saturday because they wanted to see this in person after 2 weeks of my pics, videos & stories. They were for the most part a little scared & neverous going but when I caught a couple & talked about the Cottonmouth they really enjoyed it. Even the one guy thats wife came out with us. My girlfriend enjoys following me also even though she holds her breath while I’m in the catching proccess. Anyway. Just though I’d share my Cottonmouth story. Love the site. Very simple, easy to understand & educational. Perfect for a Cottonmouth guy.
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Larry says:
July 14, 2012 at 2:50 am

Great comment. I really appreciate it.
larry
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Tommy says:
June 26, 2012 at 2:32 am

I live in the panhandle of florida Pace to be exact its next 2 pensacola i have a 6 acre pond and a small nephew and we go and feed the fish everyday and yesterday i saw a 3 and a half water moccasin and when we drove off on a jacked up golf cart it fled and so let by gones be by gones but today yet again i saw a small water moccasin and we were maybe a foot away and i know what they look like because ive dealt with them all my life but this is getting me worried how can i get rid of them all i know 2 do is go out there with a .45 and shoot 2 kill but what kinds of baits should i use or what else do i or should i do ??? please help asap !!! i dont need my little buddy bitten while feeding the fish !!!!!!
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Tony Futcher says:
June 24, 2012 at 11:57 am

Your picture of a “neonate water mocassin” is clearly not such. It is a young Copperhead. Since this page is said to be the “official Water Mocassin page” it is rather important that the data be accurate. Please check it out – maybe the picture was misloaded. The picture that I just saw listing the neonate was clearly a copperhead – the overall pattern, and the yellow-tipped tail are diagnostic.

Sincerely,

Tony Futcher
Hyattsville, MD
Biology Professor (Ret.)

Here is the url for the image

http://www.cottonmouthsnake.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/cottonmouth-snake-neonate-300×200.jpg
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Larry says:
June 24, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Professor,

I’m sorry but you are incorrect. I suggest you do a little more research as that animal is most certainly labeled correctly. It’s a simple and common mistake though as neonate cottonmouths and copperheads look very similar. In fact, it was once thought if you placed both neonates side by side the average person would believe they are the same species which may be true, but to an experienced eye they clearly share different characteristics.

Respectfully,
Larry
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Ray Derman says:
June 18, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Hi,
I live in Southern New Jersey, due east of Philadephia.We saw what certainly did appear to be a cottonmouth, near a pond, basking in the sun. About 3 1/2 feet long and at least 3 inches thick.The head was triangular, but I could not see the eyes.Is it possible for them to be this far north. I have an 85 lb. dog that is very curious. If he were ever to get bitten,what is the best course of treatment?
Thank you.
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Kimberly says:
June 12, 2012 at 8:17 pm

We have an inground pool with a tarp over it. In the last month in a half to two months, we have found 6 water moccasins laying up on our pool tarp and playing in the rain water that pools on top of the tarp.

Two of them got away while trying to clean off the tarp and they ended up getting down into the pool and we have been unable to catch them and kill those two.

If one of the snakes is a female and it’s considered mating season right now in Arkansas, do you think it’s putting off phermones that the males are attracted too and that is why all of the sudden these snakes are showing up like crazy? Out of 7 years of leaving there, I have never seen this many snakes even in a years time in my yard!
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mindy says:
June 3, 2012 at 9:08 pm

My boyfriend killed a cottonmouth and something sprayed him in the face while killing it. Is there concern that it might have been venom and should he go to the hospital
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Larry says:
June 14, 2012 at 3:20 am

I’m not a Doctor, but when in doubt go to the hospital. Try to avoid killing them in the future.

Larry
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Kelly brown says:
June 1, 2012 at 7:40 am

Tonight, I heard what I thought was a kitten crying, I went and investigated and found a large black snake. I assume it was making the sound. I never found a kitten and the closer I got to the snake the louder the cries got. Is this possible?
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Larry says:
June 3, 2012 at 10:25 pm

That’s interesting, but it doesn’t sound like that of a reptile. On some occasions cottonmouths will hiss and puff a little, but it won’t be mistaken as a sound of a kitten.

I have heard of large cottonmouths eating cats on rare occasions.

Hope this helps.
Larry
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Michelle says:
May 11, 2012 at 2:03 am

Ok I fish a lot and i live around frederick maryland which is right below the mason dixion line, i was wondering are cotton mouths native this far up.

Sincerly a nervous fisherwoman
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Larry says:
May 17, 2012 at 8:07 pm

Michelle,

You should not have any cottonmouths in your area. Southern Virginia is the northern boundary for their native range on the east coast.

Happy Fishing..
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Peg says:
May 6, 2012 at 1:00 pm

I killed a cottonmouth the other day, it was up close to my house. I struck it with a hoe and it just bounced off, I had to finally kill it with a shovel. Is there skin really this tough?
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Larry says:
May 6, 2012 at 7:20 pm

As a reptile lover, I’m sadden to hear you killed the cottonmouth snake, unless of course you were put in a position where you felt it was necessary for safety reasons.

Regarding your question, their skin is no tougher than any other reptile or snake in general.
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Timothy says:
May 3, 2012 at 4:06 am

How many young can a grown cotton mouth have at one time and how many times a year
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Larry says:
May 3, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Timothy,

Adult females typically have between 6-10 live young every other season. In captivity a well feed mature female is capable of producing a litter every year.

Thanks for the question.
My best,
Larry
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Diana says:
May 2, 2012 at 12:47 am

Hey Dave,Not trying to push an auenmgrt here, but I didn’t intend to quote you word for word in the first place. (If I had I would have used ” rather than *.) I was simply expressing a general idea that you touch on in your blog post…and that I personally think could be misinterpreted/over-read by your intended audience (the non-herper types). I dunno, I was kind of thinking to myself that Cottonmouths vibrating their tails in dry leaves sounds a lot like…Ratsnakes vibrating their tails in dry grass. 😉
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Judi says:
April 6, 2012 at 7:29 pm

I have a pond on my property and a son. This does not mix well when it comes to snakes. Could you tell me the striking distance of the Cotton Mouth. Mom is concerned.

Thanks and wonderful site
Judi
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Larry says:
April 6, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Hey Judi,

Thanks for the question. The striking distance of a cottonmouth is going to be about 1/3 f the total length of the snakes body. The larger the cottonmouth the great the striking distance. Thanks for the comments regarding the site.

My best,
Larry
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Armada says:
May 1, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Brown Water Snakes are large, heavy-bodied snakes most often found in samwps of the low country. They are usually misidentified as venomous Cottonmouth Snakes. Browns like to bask on limbs higher above the water than most other water snakes. At the first perception of danger, they will drop into the water making a loud splash. If a fisherman’s boat happens to be below, they may fall into it. Such events give rise to many stories of Cottonmouths jumping into boats.The eyes of Brown Water Snakes are set well forward on the head. Browns are fond of eating catfish. Stella
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William Cobb says:
March 28, 2012 at 5:13 pm

I live in Memphis.And my neighbor came out her back door to find a 3 foot cottonmouth on her porch.My question is this. I have heard you can put down sulfer on the ground.And a snake will not cross over this.
Also why do you think this snake was so far away from water. And so far inside the city.
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Larry says:
March 30, 2012 at 1:46 am

Howdy William! Thanks for the question.

There are no chemicals or spray that actually works as a reliable snake repellent. Even if there were it still wouldn’t be very effective due to nature’s ability to change conditions on the drop of a dime. A quick downfall of rain would was away just about snake repellent laid out.

Why that particular animal and assuming it is a cottonmouth snake was so far away from water is most likely due to mating season. This time of year animals will sometimes travel a good distance away from water in search of a perspective mate. There may also be a den near by that these animal are coming and going from, again the time of year goes into play.

My advice is to use caution and treat any venomous snakes come across with respect.

Best of luck,
Larry
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Maliha says:
May 1, 2012 at 10:08 pm

Hi Kory, Thanks for your comment and glad to hear you enjoy the blog. I beelive you misquoted me, as I did not say Cottonmouths vibrate their tails to “imitate” a rattlesnake. They do however, “sound” like a rattlesnake in dry leaves. I checked out your link; I do think it can be controversial to suggest snakes are exhibiting some mimicry when they are shaking their tails; it’s perhaps more likely that this was the ancestral behavior that eventually lead to rattles. You’re right, this could be a good future blog.Dave
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Sara says:
May 2, 2012 at 2:24 am

Great post David. I have been between couoonmttths on a levee and the water they wanted to get to to escape. I knew they were jut trying to get to the water but someone else could have thought that they were attacking them. When harrassed they also can strike vigorously enough to actually carry their body toward the intruder. Keep up the good work!Bob Herrington
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Keith Brooks says:
March 5, 2012 at 3:15 am

I noticed the picture of the water moccasin eating another snake on your photo page. I wasn’t aware that they are cannibalistic? Was that picture just a fluke or was that animal actually eating the other snake? Thanks ahead time for your response. ~Keith
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Larry says:
March 6, 2012 at 4:40 am

Keith, thanks for the question! I really appreciate your interest in these awesome animals. To answer your question, yes cottonmouths are cannibalistic and yes that animal pictured is actually eating the common water snake.

I don’t see them being authentic cannibals in the true meaning as I do say kingsnakes and king cobras etc. I see cottonmouths as being very opportunistic feeders which really describes their true feeding habits.

Keep in mind these guys will pretty much eat anything that they can overpower and kill. They’ve also be observed scavenging on road kill animals. If that doesn’t paint a picture of how these guys operate nothing will. Thanks again for stopping by and enjoy the rest of the site.

-Larry
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JongMin says:
May 1, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Dear Silver Moon,It is impossible to give you a deiifitnve answer, but I will give you possibilities. A coachwhip is notorious for standing upright. He has a black head but he generally changes colors to light brown by the time you get to his tail. He is generally a slender snake. Another possibility is a black racer. The tend to be very slender snakes and all black except a small white patch below their chin. It could also be a black rat snake. This snake is not quite as thin and has an almost indiscernable pattern near his stomach. All three of these snakes are very common in Georgia and could have found their way into your back yard. None of these are venomous and none are aggressive.Hope this helps and let me know if you get a picture.Tice
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Muhamad says:
May 1, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Please help me identify the beiautful snake I encounter I had yesterday. He/she was about 3 to 6 feet long, thinish, (about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in circum.) very dark brown, possibly black, with dark eyes. It’s tail was out of sight, so I couldn’t say what it looked like. The first two feet of her was standing upright, very regal as if she was watching the pool. I had just finished my swim, and there was no other people in our pool. She was watching our community pool (Buckhead in Richmond Hill, GA) in an upright position. She was on a berm under pine needles and bushes, but very out in open and looking around. I almost walked right by her on my way to the shower under the tree on the brim she was on. She eyed me by turning her head at me, as if to say Hello, there, you may want to use pool shower under the tree, but this is my home you know. I went back to my chair to retrieve my goggles, and walked again over to the shower tree, but she did not move away. I decided to exit the pool without taking my rinse off shower. This is my first encounter with a snake as blackish and pretty as she, and one especially as proud being upright and showing off her graceful neck and agile head. The vibe I got from her was that she was friendly, not shy, and wanted me to know that she’s been watching me swim for several weeks now. During the school day, no one is around the pool except for me doing my laps. My husband thinks that a snake that is upright like that is in attack mode, but I didn’t pick up on that, just that I needed to be respectful of her space. I’ll take a camera with me today for my swim and see if she comes back to say hello. Any ideas what she/he could be and why she was upright and not afraid of me? Thanks so much. Silver Moon