Florida Hunter Safety Course


Venomous Snakes

Water Moccasin (Cottonmouth)

Water Moccasin

The water moccasin is a pit viper without rattles. Most specimens average about two feet in length. The head of the water moccasin is wider than the neck and it is a heavy bodied snake with an abruptly tapering tail. When disturbed, the moccasin cocks its head upwards and opens its mouth wide to reveal the whitish interior lining, hence the name cottonmouth. A water snake, the cottonmouth is found along stream banks, in swamps, around lakes and in tree-bordered marshes. It hunts at night for its prey of fish, frogs and other snakes, lizards and small mammals.


Coral Snake

Coral Snake

The venom of the coral snake is neurotoxic, and it attacks the nervous system of a victim, bringing on paralysis. The coral snake always has a black snout followed by a broad yellow band across the back of the head and neck. The red is often flaked with black. The scarlet and scarlet king snakes are similar in appearance, but their patterns differ. The coral snake is not aggressive. Most bites occur when someone who does not recognize it as a venomous one picks up a "pretty little snake." An aid in identifying a coral snake is to think of a traffic light; red and yellow, stop and caution, are next to each other. Coral snakes do not strike, but bite and chew to inject the venom, which they can do very quickly.


Source: FWC Hunter Education Program