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Agkistrodon piscivorus piscivorus facts for kids

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Eastern cottonmouth
Cottonmouth Snake, Gaping.jpg
Agkistrodon piscivorus piscivorus dark.JPG
A. p. piscivorus, pale and dark forms
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae
Genus: Agkistrodon
A. p. piscivorus
Trinomial name
Agkistrodon piscivorus piscivorus
(Lacépède, 1789)
Geographic variation of A. piscivorus
      A. p. piscivorus        Intergradation
  • Crotalus piscivorus – Lacépède, 1789
  • Trigonocephalus piscivorus – Duméeril & Bibron, 1854
  • Ancistrodon piscivorus – Cope, 1860
  • Toxicophis piscivorus – Baird & Girard, 1853
  • Agkistrodon piscivorus piscivorus – Conant & Collins, 1991
Common names: Eastern cottonmouth, cottonmouth moccasin, water moccasin, moccasin

Agkistrodon piscivorus piscivorus is a venomous pitviper, one of three subspecies of Agkistrodon piscivorus, with different geographic distributions, found in the southeastern United States.


Patterning on a younger specimen

This subspecies reaches 20-48 inches (51–121 cm) in length on average but has reached 74.5 inches (189 cm). The colour is mainly dark, and the body heavy. However younger specimens have red to brown crossbands, with a lighter brown background. The crossbands are spotted and speckled, and the tail sulphur coloured. The patterning darkens with time with many older adults being completely black.

The scales are keeled and dark broad stripes on the face disguise the eyes, which cannot be seen when viewed from above, and have a vertical (cat's-eye) slit like pupil. The eye is separated from the nostril by a deep facial pit.

Geographic range

The United States in southeastern Virginia, the Atlantic Coastal Plain and lower Piedmont of North and South Carolina, including the banks, peninsulas and islands along the Atlantic coast, and west across Georgia (see map).

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