b. Water Moccasin (Cottonmouth) Agkistrodon, 2 species). The water
moccasin is found in the southern Mississippi Valley states eastward to Florida since it
prefers low swampy land and lake areas. It can be identified by its elliptical pupils,
facial pits, and absence of rattles, and usually a single row of scales on the underside of
the tail. When the cottonmouth (Figure 1-5) becomes excited, it coils its head back with
its mouth open and reveals the white inside, its mouth (hence, the name "cottonmouth").
This snake can grow to a length between 3 to 5 feet and it is dark brown and black.
Figure 1-5. Agkistrodon piscivorus (Cottonmouth).
c. Copperhead (Agkistrodon, 5 species). The copperhead (Figure 1-6) can
be found in the eastern half of the U.S. from Texas to the east coast especially in the
rocky and wooded areas away from water. When grown, this snake is from 2 to 4 feet
long. Its color patterns vary greatly, the head being the color of copper or reddish
brown with an hourglass shape on its back.
Figure 1-6. Agkistrodon contortrix (Copperhead).