|Water moccasin showing its venomous fangs|
The Water moccasin is a species of venomous water snake known by the scientific name Agkistrodon piscivorus. Its body is very thick and dark colored. It can be found usually by swamps, rivers, or other bodies of water. It is best known as one of the most venomous snakes in North America. The snake is very aware of its surroundings and when it feels threatened it may simply curl up in a coil and open its mouth, or calmly disappear into the water for its own protection, or attack fast and hard. It is highly advised to seek medical help if you are bitten by one of these snakes. If you are not treated properly or quickly, there is the possibility of death.
The snake can be found either during night or day. It is most common though, to find them at night time in hot climate areas. It has been found in the winter but usually when it is sunny. The water moccasin eats all sorts of different kinds of prey. This includes a variety of aquatic and land prey, which are: amphibians, lizards, snakes, small turtles, baby alligators, mammals, birds, and most importantly fish. The mating season for the snakes happens during the early time of summer. This time of year is when the male gender of the water moccasin get aggressive. This is because of the competition for males to mate with the female moccasin.
There are distinctions of how to tell if what you are looking at is a water moccasin. Water moccasin, when they are young, are very light colored. Though when they are older and more mature, they become dark. The head of the snake is kind of shaped like a triangle. The eyes of the snake are similar to those of a cat. In other words, they have a yellowish tint to them and the pupils of the snake are vertical. The mouth of the water moccasin is very white. In it are its large fangs. When swimming through the water, the water moccasin doesn't go all the way under the water like normal water snakes do, they usually have their back out of the water while swimming.
In general, all snakes have a tiny hole opening behind their tongue. This is called the glottis. The glottis opens into a trachea. The snake's glottis is never opened. This creates a tall slit. What creates the hissing noise that the snake makes is the glottis, which vibrates when the snake breathes out. The snake has a trachea, which is a very thin structure, which is helped out by cartilaginous rings, the supported rings are not complete rings. What completes the ring is a slender membrane.
The water moccasin is ovoviviparous. The female moccasin can have a litter of up to twenty, though that is very rare. The usual litter is around six to eight. Neonates are usually 22-35 cm long. If the weather conditions are good and food can be easily found, the growth of a water moccasin is fast and females may not reproduce as much as than three years of living and a total length of as small as 60 cm. Water moccasin babies are born in August or September,and mating can happen during any of the warmer months of the year.
The water moccasin can be found in the south eastern part of the United States of America. It mostly inhabits the parts of the state of Florida. It also can be found in the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.
The water moccasin lives in swampy areas and not as much as the large deep waters. It can be found in the low waters like: a lake, swamp, river, canals, or small clear rocky mountain streams. It has been found swimming in saltwater but not as likely. The water moccasin can develop better to it's environment if it lives in a dry climate. The less moist the environment the better.
The water moccasin is one of the most deadly venomous snakes in North America. They are very aggressive when they think they are going to be attacked. The way they inject their venom is like the same way a rattlesnake does. The venom can be looked at in different steps. Which is the Proterozoic enzymes completely mess up and destroy your tissues. The venom also can cause a sudden shock to the victim.
5,000 snake bites are reported each year in the United States. About 42% of those reports are due to the water moccasin snake bite. Studies show that water moccasin bites come from more of the males than females. This is probable due to the fact of the testosterone that the males posses. If you are bitten, here are some signs indicating whether you have been infected with venom or not. If there is pain around the bite. Also swelling, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea may show. Fang marks from the bite might not show on a victim from a water moccasin bite. The treatment for a wound depends on how much venom has gotten in your system. There isn't a lot of medication that you can take. It can take up to a six week recovery period.
- Cottonmouth / Water Moccasin (Agkistrodon piscivorus) - Venomous by Kimberly Andrews, University of Georgia – edited by J.D. Willson, University of Georgia's Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Accessed March 1, 2011.
- Poisonous Water Moccasins by Alexandra Hubbard, edited by Chitika, accessed March 5,2011.
- Envenomation by Sean P Bush, MD, FACEP, edited by Eric J Lavonas, updated July 24, 2008.