The Cottonmouth is a venomous snake, a species of pit viper, found in the southeastern USA. Adults are large and capable of delivering a painful and potentially fatal bite. When antagonized, they will stand their ground by coiling their bodies and displaying their fangs. Although their aggression has been exaggerated, on rare occasions territorial males will approach intruders in an aggressive manner. This is the world's only semi-aquatic viper, usually found in or near water, particularly in slow-moving and shallow lakes, streams, and marshes. The snake is a strong swimmer and will even enter the sea, successfully colonizing islands off both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.
RANGE & ORIGIN
This species is found in the eastern USA from Virginia, south through the Florida peninsula and west to Arkansas, eastern and southern Oklahoma, and east and central Texas. A few records exist of the species being found along the Rio Grande in Texas, but these are thought to represent disjunctive populations, now possibly eradicated. The type locality given is "Carolina", although Schmidt (1953) proposed this be restricted to the area around Charleston, South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Southern New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Western and Middle Tennessee and extreme southeastern Kansas, Kentucky. In Georgia, it is found in the southern half of the state up to a few kilometers north of the fall line with few exceptions. Its range also includes the Ohio River Valley as far north as southern Illinois, and it inhabits many barrier islands off the coasts of the states where it is found
22 to 68 inches.
The life cycle of this snake differs a bit from the normal life cycle of a snake. The eggs are developed and hatched inside the female. Sometimes the eggs hatch immediately, after laying. Normally, 6 -12 babies are born, each of which are 10 - 25cm long. The life span of cottonmouth snake is still 'unknown'.
A 40 gallon breeder SIZE is fine - but do not use a fish tank! 3’ wide by 2’ deep by 18" tall is a good sized cage. They are semi-aquatic and are mostly present in wetlands like rivers, lakes, swamps and ponds. One of the interesting fact about these snakes is they are also residents of drainage ditches. Thought they can be often seen sunning themselves around the edges of a water-body, a cottonmouth snake is more active at nighttime.
Paper or cypress mulch work well.
TEMPERATURE & LIGHTING
80 to 90F degree gradient.
DIET, WATER & SUPPLEMENTS
Diet includes mammals, birds, amphibians, fish, snakes, small turtles and small alligators. Cannibalism has also been reported. Normally, though, the bulk of its diet consists of fish and frogs. On occasion, juvenile specimens feed on invertebrates. Feed an appropriately sized mouse or rat every 2-3 weeks. These snakes have a tendency to become overweight. Provide a dish of clean water at all times.
Carefully spot clean throughout the week with weekly full cage cleanings.
A. piscivorus venom is more toxic than that of A. contortrix (the copperhead), and is rich with tissue-destructive enzymes. Absent an anaphylactic reaction in a bitten individual, however, the venom does not cause systemic reactions in victims and does not contain neurotoxic components that are present in numerous rattlesnake species. Bites can be effectively treated with CroFab antivenom, as this serum is derived using venom components from four species of American pitvipers (the eastern and western diamondback rattlesnakes, the Mojave rattlesnake and the cottonmouth).
Bites from the cottonmouth are relatively frequent in the lower Mississippi River Valley and along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, although fatalities are rare.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
GARY FLOYD HAS BEEN BREEDING REPTILES FOR THE PAST 16YRS. WITH HIS VERY FIRST SNAKE BEING A BALL PYTHON AFTER MOVING TO FLORIDA WHERE HE AND HIS BUSINESS PARTNER JUAN MARTENEZ BEGAN BREEDING AFRICAN ROCK PYTHON, BURMESE PYTHONS , GREEN AND YELLOW ANACONDA’S , AND THE FAMED RETICULATED PYTHON. THEY SUPPLIED CENTRAL FLORIDA PET STORES WITH QUALITY REPTILES FOR 7 YRS .HE THEN STARTED HIS DEGREE PROGEAM IN ANIMAL HEALTH SCIENCE’S WITH THE SPECALTY IN REPTILES. THEN GARY MOVED BACK HOME TO LOUISIANA WHERE HE VENTURED INTO RAISING CROC MONITORS, NILE MONITORS AND SAVANNAH MONITORS AS OF LATLEY YOU CAN FIND GARY HANGING OUT WITH HIS FAMILY PET A 12.5 COLUMBIAN BOA.