Cottonmouth Bite: How Dangerous Is It And Can It Be Treated? | Kidadl


Cottonmouth Bite: How Dangerous Is It And Can It Be Treated?

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Cottonmouths or pit vipers, sometimes known as 'water moccasins,' are venomous semi-aquatic reptiles but are not rattlesnakes.

According to expert observation, cottonmouths feature huge, blocky heads with a black line running across the eyeball pupils, vertical pupils, facial pits, and prominent jaw due to venom glands. Cottonmouths may be found across the South, from north Georgia to southern Virginia.

Cottonmouths are endemic to the United States, where they may be found from Southeastern Virginia to Florida, West to Central Texas, and North to Southern Illinois and Indiana. Cottonmouths are primarily found in the Coastal Plain region, although they may also be found in a few Piedmont locals west of Atlanta, Georgia. They may be present in nearly all freshwater settings, although cypress swamps, river floodplains, and densely planted wetlands are the most abundant, it has also been observed that they can be found far from familiar water sources.

Cottonmouths gather around wetlands' drying ponds to eat trapped fish and amphibians. During the warmest months of the year, cottonmouths can be encountered at any time of day or night, although they prefer to forage for fish after dark. They may be seen across most of their range all year, even on sunny winter days or dark days.

Cottonmouths are pretty widespread and have no state, federal, or heritage status. Humans kill them in many sections of their local range as cottonmouths move across locations and travel overland in response to drought.

How deadly is a cottonmouth bite?

The bite of the cottonmouth (also known as the Water Moccasin) is far more hazardous and destructive to humans than the closely related copperhead, yet death is uncommon. Like the copperhead, the moccasin is more hostile, yet biting is unusual unless the snake is disturbed or provoked, as it is with the copperhead.

The cottonmouth/water moccasin, on the other hand, has a more violent personality, yet when threatened, will hiss and nearly always take a strike-ready position. The common name comes from the white color of their mouth's insides and the snake's habit of opening its mouth unusually wide as a warning sign. Cottonmouths are somewhat bigger than copperheads, attaining 6 ft (183 cm) lengths on the median, averaging 3 ft (91.44 cm).

The cottonmouth (Agkistrodon Piscivorus) has a little more potent venom than the snake, although it is still seldom fatal to people. Cottonmouth snakes are semi-aquatic, and this pit viper species prefers marshes, swamps, hotter lakes, and rivers. The cottonmouth viper is the world's only semi-aquatic pit viper. This pit viper species has been spotted in seawater and has inhabited some near-offshore islands off the east coast.

The Cottonmouth Myth

According to one popular story, 'The writhing mass,' a water skier slipped into a 'nest' of cottonmouths and perished from hundreds of snake bites.

Cottonmouths are the only venomous water snakes in the United States, which is the basis for folklore (semi-aquatic, to be precise). The prospect of coming face to face with a snake while diving is unnerving. The snake's reaction, which is a wonderful analogy to the human's, would be to swim away as quickly as possible. Those terrifying experiences with several cottonmouths never occurred in nature and could never happen.

Cottonmouths are solitary creatures that do not establish colonies or nests. In the spring, males compete with one another for access to females. Males and females form a couple for a few hours of wooing and mating before splitting up. Females give birth to 10 to 15 juvenile cottonmouths who leave the nest as soon as these dark-brown colored snake species are old enough. During a drought, a few cottonmouths may band together with other water snakes to prey on fish or small mammals stuck in dwindling pools.

How long can you live after a cottonmouth bite?

Cottonmouths are infamous for being aggressive, although they only bite people when picked up or stepped on. These venomous snakes may use protective actions to defend themselves against possible predators, including people.

Cottonmouth venom is potent and can be fatal to humans, even though bites are uncommon. Anyone who has been bitten by a cottonmouth (Agkistrodon Piscivorus) must seek medical help right away.

Individuals bitten by venomous snakes, such as cottonmouths,  always experience an acute scorching agony, and the bite wounds generally expand within five minutes. It's also typical to see skin discoloration surrounding the injection point. Cottonmouth bites can cause temporary or chronic tissue and muscular damage; amputation of a limb, depending on the site of the bite; internal bleeding; and acute agony surrounding the affected region.

At what age can a baby cottonmouth bite?

Cottonmouth (water moccasin) snakes are generally 8 in (20 cm) long and brown, in contrast to their adult counterparts, who are black. These venomous snakes typically have 10-15 yellow or reddish-brown rings with darker dots inside the bands. The yellow or greenish tail end is a distinguishing trait.

The mouth of a newborn cottonmouth snake (Agkistrodon Piscivorus) is white to pink. When threatened, this snake extends its jaws wide to frighten off attackers rather than striking. The cottonmouth snake is the only snake that exhibits this behavior. Baby or juvenile cottonmouth (water moccasin) snakes are venomous, even though they generate less venom than adults.

Hemotoxins make up the majority of the venom of baby or juvenile cottonmouths. This toxin attacks blood cells, eliminating their capacity to clot and causing significant blood loss. The victim should seek medical assistance as soon as possible since blood loss can occur both internally and externally. A bite from one of these snakes is usually not lethal. However, if venom is injected, the victim should seek medical help as soon as possible. Cottonmouths will occasionally 'dry bite,' which is a bite that does not release any venom. This is done so the snake may save the venomed for another prey.

Cottonmouths do not usually have violent behavior and won't attack unless provoked. Look for warning signs that a snake is about to bite if you encounter one of these snakes. They open their mouth wide when frightened, revealing the white inside that gives them the moniker 'cottonmouth.' The rustling of their tail is the second warning indicator. Of course, the best approach to prevent being bitten by a cottonmouth snake is to stay away from it when you see one. Although they appear ferocious and have a poor reputation for being aggressive snakes, they are actually extremely calm and will leave if approached.

How long after a cottonmouth bite does the venom fully take control?

When venomous snakes bite, they willingly release venom. They have authority over how much poison they release, and envenoming or poisoning occurs in 50 to 70% of venomous snake bites. Even if the bite isn't severe, every snakebite should be addressed as a medical emergency unless you're sure a non-venomous snake caused it.

Any delay in seeking medical attention after being bitten by a venomous snake can result in significant damage or death in the worst situation.

Venomous cottonmouth bites are extremely hazardous to both humans and pets. The sufferer should get medical attention immediately from a physician or hospitalization in case of snake bites. Cottonmouths aren't aggressive and stay away from people and pets. Most bites occur whenever these snakes are actively mistreated or disturbed.

How to treat a cottonmouth bite for humans?

Venomous snakes account for around 15% of all snakes globally and 20% in the United States. These include the rattlesnake, coral snake, water moccasin, and copperhead in North America.

Their bites can result in serious injury and even death. If a poisonous snake bites you, contact 911 immediately, especially if the affected area changes color, swells, or the pain becomes severe. Antivenom medications are commonly available in emergency departments and may be of assistance to you.

While you're waiting for medical treatment, if at all feasible, do the following steps:

Extend your reach beyond the snake's striking range.

To delay the spreading of poison, be quiet and calm.

Before you begin to swell, take off your jewelry and tight clothing.

If possible, position yourself such that the bite sits at or below the level of your heart.

Dish soap and water should be used to clean the wound. Wrap it in a dry, sterile bandage.

Do not use tourniquets or ice on the wound.

Do not even try to cut the wound or remove the poison.

Caffeine and alcohol might speed up the absorption of venom in your body.

Do not attempt to catch the snake. Try to recall its color and shape so you can explain it to your doctor, which will aid in your therapy.

Take a picture of the snake from a safe distance if you have a smartphone.

The very poisonous cottonmouth snake

Snake bites should always be handled seriously and treated as an emergency. It's vital to get your pet to a veterinarian right away. Immobilize the portion of the animal that the snake has bitten if it is safe to do so.

Attempt to maintain it well below the body's level. Maintain a calm and motionless state for your pet; carry if required. As soon as possible, seek veterinarian help. If possible, try to identify the snake without putting yourself in danger. Please don't try to catch or kill the snake! To assist your veterinarian in treating you, it's a good idea to figure out what kind of snake you have.

Please do not take snakes into the veterinarian's clinic; instead, take a picture of them. Using a tourniquet or cold pack, attempting to remove the venom, or administering medicine to your pet unless prescribed by a veterinarian is not suggested.

What Are The Effects Of A Cottonmouth Snake Bite?

The cottonmouth snake, often known as the Water Moccasin, is a venomous snake found in southeastern and southern North America. In the north, they produce one, two, or three puncture holes on the skin. However, the markings aren't always visible.

Water Moccasins may grow up to 6 ft (2 m) long and have the following characteristics:

A distinct white coloration inside the mouth.

Pit-like downturns behind the nostrils.

A rectangular head with fangs and slit-shaped irises or pupils in the head.

The snake's underside head, including the tail, has a single row of plates or scales on the tail.

Cottonmouth bite or pit vipers symptoms can emerge anywhere from minutes to hours after a snakebite and include:

Severe, sudden pain accompanied by fast swelling.

Skin discoloration.

Breathing difficulty.

Pulse rate or rhythmic varies.

The mouth develops a metallic, rubbery, or minty taste.

Tingling or numbness in the lips, tongue, scalp, feet, or the affected region.

Lymph nodes around the snakebite area swell.

Signs of shock may also be present.

How Many People Die From A Cottonmouth Bite?

Although poisonous snakebites or pit vipers seldom result in death, a worker with a severe neurotoxic venom or allergy to snake venom might die due to a nasty bite.

In the United States, an estimated 7,000–8,000 individuals are bitten by poisonous snakes each year, around 5 of them dying. If individuals did not seek medical help, the number of deaths would be substantially greater. Snake bites are significantly more likely to cause long-term harm than to result in death. Rattlesnake bites result in 10–44% of people suffering from long-term damage. However, the Cottonmouth snake bites have been responsible for less than 1% of all deaths related to snake bites in the U.S.

It is possible to lose part of your body that has been affected by a cottonmouth bite, such as a finger or toe. Employers should educate their employees on the dangers of coming into contact with venomous snakes, avoiding and defending themselves from venomous snakes, and what to do if they are bitten.


Baumwollmaul- oder Grubenottern, manchmal auch als "Wassermokassins" bekannt, sind giftige semi-aquatische Reptilien, aber keine Klapperschlangen.

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