Florida Cottonmouth, Water Moccasin Snake (Agkistrodon piscivorus conanti)

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Florida Cottonmouth, Water Moccasin Snake (Agkistrodon piscivorus conanti)

VENOMOUS!! If bitten seek immediate medical care from a physician or hospital experienced in treating snakebite.

This guy (or gal) was on the patio. I have mixed feelings. Because I have dogs, it certainly isn’t welcome on the dog side of the property, but as you can see, it is beneficial. This one was eating an INVASIVE Cuban treefrog (YAY!)

Learn to identify the 6 species of venomous snakes in Florida. If you see one, don’t panic, just quietly move away from the area and whatever you do, DON’t try to kill it. You stand a better chance of avoiding a bite if you just move along and don’t interact with it. http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/herpetology/fl-guide/Agkistrodonpconanti.htm

Diet: fish, frogs, salamander, lizards, small turtles, baby alligators, birds, small mammals, and other snakes

Learn: http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/ReptilesAmphibians/Facts/FactSheets/Cottonmouth.cfm

My take: http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/my-hero-and-gardening-anxiety.html

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6 comments
  1. Yes, seeing a cottonmouth on your patio qualifies as a mixed blessing – but I so appreciate your words of wisdom about leaving it alone and not trying to kill it, as well as your positivity about its positive role in helping to control the invasive frog species on your property!

    In my many years out and about, I’ve only seen poisonous snakes twice (a massassagua rattlesnake and a copperhead) – but I’ve many, many people tell me about how many they’ve seen (and killed). One of my “favorite” stories is of the time when 2 teenage boys came to me for permission to kill the rattlesnakes they had just seen over at a botanical garden I was staffing during a big plant sale. I asked them to show me these snakes, being quite skeptical of the boys’ identification skills…and they lead me up to 2 garter snakes that appeared to have just emerged from their overwintering den. I am just thankful that the boys came to ask permission, rather than simply killing them when they saw them. I know that many harmless snakes meet their end because of such kneejerk “identifications”.

    • Loret said:

      Hi Cynthia,

      I admit that at one time I was a person who killed the pygmy rattle snakes on sight because I was concerned for the welfare of my dogs. My Irish was bitten twice by Pygmy rattlers and my English was bitten once. A quick trip to the vet and they were fine in no time. At this stage I have become more enlightened and if push came to shove and the dogs were in danger, I’d probably do the same, but as in this case, I hope to observe the situation FIRST and avoid having to make that kind of decision. I’ve sheparded a few pygmy rattlers toward the dog free section of the yard which is a lot easier on my conscience. Luckily the two times I had to deal with the cottonmouths I was able to just leave them to own devices. I avoided the areas until they decided to move on and kept the dogs leashed for a day to make sure all was quiet on all fronts. 🙂 Glad those kids asked for permission. What exactly did they plan on killing them with in the first place?

      I think that this snake saw me and wanted to run off, but had its mouthful. I’m guessing that he moved on to get away from that crazy lady with the camera. I mowed the adjacent areas short and I do a quick lookabout before I let the dogs out on their own. I’m sure he would be looking for water, at any rate, and the pond is located in the part of the yard that the dogs don’t have access to.

      • Boy, you’ve dealt with more than your fair share of rattlesnakes! I have to commend you on your tolerance.

        I have no idea what the kids were planning to kill the snakes with – probably stomp on them. Or maybe they were hoping that I’d give them something to do the job with. Anyway, I’m very glad they came to get me!

        I’m not normally big into lots of mowing, but it sounds like it’s a good idea in the areas where you’ll be doing your walking – and where your dogs are out often. We mow up near the house as a firebreak, as well as trails through the tall grass so that I don’t get chiggers all the time. Mowing makes sense where there’s a reason, I guess, but I sure dislike recreational mowing for “neatness”. Thanks for your posts, Loret – I really enjoy them!

      • Loret said:

        Cynthia, Thanks for always taking the time to comment. I enjoy the conversations.

        The pygmy rattlers are tolerable because they are small and bites can be treated relatively easily. As the local serpetarium owner says “You may lose a digit, but they won’t kill you”. 😀

        I have an acre with 1/2 considered “the dogs area” that includes the house and 1/2 the designatied wildlife area that includes the pond.

        The “lawn” in the dog area is mostly native sedges and there are expanding “islands” of unmowed growth. Seems the dogs’ mowed area gets smaller and smaller each year (as they get older and don’t run so fast).

        I have been lax in maintaining my fire defensible area because we didn’t have much of a dry season this year and I guess the snake figured it out. 😉

        I too only mow pathways through the wildlife area. I allowed it to naturally restore from a clearcut lot. In the 8 years I have been here I have been greatly rewarded with beautiful surprises throughout. Sounds like we are of “like” minds in what someone once termed the “garden editing” dept.

    • Loret said:

      This one came back a second time and believe me…I’m giving it wide berth! Luckily it again had an invasive treefrog in its mouth! Thanks for stopping by

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