Water Moccasin Snake Facts. Wide Women's Slippers.
On the Defensive
This is the Florida cottonmouth, a snake that I love and respect dearly. Cottonmouths have such bad reputations, and it makes me so sad because they are such fantastic creatures. There is a commonly held belief that they "chase people away from their nests" and "aggressively stand their ground." These ideas are simply a total misinterpretation of their behavior. Snakes are not humans; you cannot interpret their actions in human terms, you must interpret their actions in snake terms. First of all, cottonmouths don't ever nest. In fact the only snake in the world that nests is the king cobra. Second, when a cottonmouth or any snake moves toward you on the ground, it is not an aggressive move; rather, they are fleeing. See, snakes have poor eyesight and they get confused easily when scared. They look at you and see something big and mistake you for a tree or some other form of shelter under which they can hide. Thirdly, what we see as a cottonmouth "standing its ground" is really just the snake remaining motionless in the hopes that you won't see it. If it flees, you are more likely to see it and eat it (at least that is what it thinks). This cottonmouth is giving me its characteristic open-mouthed defensive display. In the hundred or more cottonmouths with which I've interacted, this is the one and only time I have ever witnessed its defense display. And it only threatened me because I was being annoying, laying on the ground in front of it on my stomach with my camera in one hand and a stick in the other trying to move the brush away from it get a clear shot. As soon as I put the stick down, the defense display stopped and the snake turned and left.Dragon or Viper? Hmm?
June 22, 2008 Columbia, SC. The Eyelash Bush Viper, (Atheris ceratophora), is a venomous viper. African vipers are not members of the 'pit vipers,' (as pointed out by Toymaker), the true viper family, Viperidae, which includes such other luminaries as the Crotalinae featuring Water Moccasins, Rattlesnakes and Copperheads. Instead they belong to the 'old world' family of Viperinae, which is distributed through Africa, Asia, and Europe. They are in fact distinguished from the Crotalae by having no visible 'heat pits', which are common to all pit vipers. With his keeled scales, bright yellow coloration, vertically slitted green eyes, and pronounced 'eyelash' scales, this is one of the most remarkable looking snakes. They are arboreal in habit, and ambush predators, eating mostly small animals: possibly nesting birds, amphibians and mammals in semi-tropical mountain regions in their native range in the Usambara and Uzungwe Mountains in Tanzania, south central Africa. (131-Hot.in.Columbia)
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