Western Cottonmouth

Agkistrodon piscivorus leucostoma
(Troost, 1836)
Union Co., Illinois. October 1977.

I have seen more western cottonmouths than any other species of venomous snake – over a thousand, at best guess. That’s not bragging, really; in some parts of southern Illinois, they are the most common snake to be found, and I visit there quite often. I have seen them in the water, next to water, and quite far away from water; some of the latter finds make me wonder if some cottonmouths have given up the aquatic lifestyle for wooded hillsides. I never tire of seeing them, wherever they turn up.

I don’t have photos of the first cottonmouths that I saw at Snake Road, back in 1977, but I include a scanned prints of a juvenile, and of a group shooting a cotton on the Road back in 1983.  At right in the photo is my late friend Harry Steinmann.

NOTE: I have not followed the Agkistrodon synonomies of Burbrink & Guiher 2014, pending further studies making use of appropriate sample sizes.

My Flickr album for this species is here.

HerpMapper records for this species are here.

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