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REPTILES

Black Bayou NWR

WESTERN COTTONMOUTHS

Agkistrodon piscivorus

At A Glance

  • IDENTIFICATION: Black, gray, or brown with a black stripe at the eye, elongated pupils (also called "cats' eye" pupils), dark stripes, fat body that tapers off quickly at the tail, pits on the face, flat head
  • COMMONLY CONFUSED WITH: Broad-banded water snakes, copperheads, yellow-bellied water snakes, chicken snakes
  • CONSERVATION STATUS: Least Concern - Population Stable
  • DIET: Fish, frogs, lizards, baby alligators, turtles, other snakes, small mammals, birds
  • HABITAT: Creeks, lakes, ponds, swamps, sloughs, delta bayous, bayheads, ponds and streams in pine flatwoods, pine-palmetto forest, river bottoms, drainage ditches
  • HIBERNATION SITES: Crawfish, beaver and mink burrows, under rotting stumps
  • BREEDING: Breeding season April - May, roughly 5-9 live births five months later
  • BEHAVIOR: Most active at night, bask during day
  • SPECIAL SKILLS: Musk that will stink you out
  • THREATS: Snapping turtles, alligators, birds of prey, wading birds, king snakes, larger cottonmouths, parasites
  • SEASONS FOR VIEWING IN NORTH LOUISIANA: Year round; most active during Spring, Summer, Fall