Northern Cottonmouths


Northern Cottonmouths in North Louisiana

Young cottonmouth on a palmetto frond

Did you know that northern cottonmouths are not aggressive toward people unless they are handled, stepped on, or people get too close to the snake, making the animal feel threatened? They prefer to flee if they can.

Northern Cottonmouths
a Glance

Juvenile cottonmouth hiding in the shade of a broken log

Key Features:

Northern cottonmouths are black, gray, or brown snakes with black lines on their eyes, fat bodies, elongated pupils, pits on their faces, and flat heads.

Least Concern - Population Stable


Creeks, lakes, ponds, swamps, sloughs, delta bayous, ponds and streams in pine flatwoods, pine-palmetto forest, river bottoms, and drainage ditches

nesting habits:

Northern cottonmouths mate from April to May and give five to nine live births in August to October.

seasons northern cottonmouths are active in our area:

All year


Fish, frogs, lizards, baby alligators, turtles, other snakes, small mammals, and birds

hunting Behavior:

Northern cottonmouths bite and constrict around their prey.

Commonly Confused With:

Broad-Banded Water Snakes, Chicken Snakes, Eastern Copperheads, and Yellow-Bellied Water Snakes

Broad-banded watersnake swimming in murky, shallow water

Northern cottonmouths are often confused with broad-banded water snakes because both can be brown and both are water snakes. Cottonmouths have elongated eyes and are fat.

Northern cottonmouths are often confused with eastern copperheads because both have flat heads, pits on their faces, and elongated eyes. Copperheads are thinner, shorter snakes that like dry land. 

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