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Either of two species of pit viper that inhabits marshy lowlands of the southeastern U.S. and Mexico. The U.S. species (Agkistrodon piscivorus) is called a cottonmouth because it threatens with the mouth open, showing the white interior. It is up to 5 ft (1.5 m) long and is completely black or brown with darker crossbands. A dangerous snake with a potentially lethal bite, it tends to stand its ground or move slowly away when alarmed. It will eat almost any small animal, including turtles, fishes, and birds. See alsocopperhead.
Variants of WATER MOCCASIN
water moccasin or cottonmouth
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on water moccasin, visit Britannica.com.