Southeastern United States. Range extends west to Texas, east to the Atlantic Ocean, south to Florida, and north to Indiana.
Semi-aquatic. Found in lowland habitats including swamps, marshes, ditches, streams, rivers, forests, grasslands, and ponds. Often find cover under foliage, grasses, or man-made shelters like boards. Adults not typically found far from water sources, however juveniles may be found a distance from water.
Venomous. Venom may be fatal to humans. Adult length 26-35 inches, occasionally up to 71 inches long in eastern range. Broad triangular head with blunt snout. Pupils vertical & cat-like. Heat-sensing pits between eyes and under nostrils. Coloration varies from yellow to olive to black with dark dumbbell-shaped cross bands. Outer edges of bands are darker than center, bands on tail are completely black in color. Markings fade to solid color in adulthood. Inside of mouth is cream colored, from where the common name is derived. Ventral side cream colored with patterns of black varying from patches to streaks. Also known as water moccasins.
Learn more with Schechter Natural History's Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians