Old 05-14-2018, 09:41 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: west tn
Posts: 724

I own a 625 acre swamp near a 12k acre Federal wildlife refuge here in West TN, my place is INFESTED WITH BOTH! I can say that LARGE watersnakes will do a really good job impersonating cottonmouths. But to the trained eye their differences are easy to spot. First is the eyes! Non-pit vipers have round pupils vs the horizontal slits of the vipers. Large watersnakes also develop "diamondish" heads & thick bodies BUT their necks are much thicker & not nearly as tapered as cottonmouths. They can inflate themselves atop the water but they don't usually swim like that, cottonmouths swim that way 99.9999% of the time. (Body inflated & totally atop The water with their head 3-4" above that.)

My biggest sow cottonmouth to date was 2yrs ago, 50.5" long, 8" circumference, weight 4#+ & mouth big enough to get done ANYTHING it needed to!

This pic from my place last spring shows the classic swimming posture of the cottonmouth:

Last edited by HatchieLuvr; 05-14-2018 at 09:50 AM.
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