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What is a good description of a water moccasin?

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A water moccasin has a big triangular-shaped head, narrow neck, pale snout, “cat-eye” pupils, a dark stripe adjacent to the nostrils, and white coloring inside the mouth. Juveniles have yellow tail tips, while young adults and juveniles both have dark body bands.

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Water moccasins generally grow to between 2 and 4 feet long. They are also known by the names swamp moccasin, cottonmouth, viper, black moccasin and gapper. They usually eat a diet of frogs or fish and occasional carrion. Most are black or nearly black in color as adults, except for the head and face, but eastern varieties may display a posticular stripe alternating with a lighter color that is not found in western water moccasins.

Water moccasins are commonly confused with other water snakes and copperheads. The largest water moccasin on record was discovered in the Dismal Swamp and measured over 6 feet in length. Aggression is shown by coiling and displaying the fangs. Water moccasins are the only vipers that are semiaquatic and generally live in or around water, usually in areas with shallow water, such as streams, marshes and shallow lakes. They are strong swimmers and have been found living in colonies on islands near the Gulf and Atlantic coasts.

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