Calm and beautiful, a Cottonmouth pit viper (Agkistrodon piscivorous) features in Life in The Leaf Litter.
Calm and beautiful, a Cottonmouth pit viper (Agkistrodon piscivorous) features in Life in The Leaf Litter. Image and copyright C. Paxton

I saw a healthy adult ‘stumpy’ Cottonmouth at Black Bayou. It was just passing by and exhibited no sign of aggression. I got down low for this photo to capture its equanimity and its beauty for my ‘Life in The Leaf Litter‘ project.

It’s wise to respect them, Cottonmouths are venomous and potentially dangerous, but they would rather just be about their business than cause us any trouble.

Sadly a lot of people want to kill them, but it’s much safer to just give them their space and watch where you are walking and putting your hands.

There’s an interesting study into these snakes’ defensive behavior that you might find comforting and may give cause for you to spare a ‘stumpy’ when you next meet one in the woods or on the roads.

https://srelherp.uga.edu/projec…/docs/Gibbons&Dorcas2002.pdf

Louisiana Master Naturalist and animal rescue specialist Micha Petty has written about this in a more down to Earth manner.
https://medium.com/the-natural-world/the-maligned-cottonmouth-475ab93c13ef