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Sightings arranged by: Taxonomy Location Date Scientific Name
Agkistrodon piscivorus — Northern Cottonmouth
Also known as:
In 2014, Burbrink and Guiher split Agkistrodon conanti from Agkistrodon piscivorus, and eliminated the other previously distinguished subspecies.
Snake Road in extreme southwestern Illinois is a dirt road through a particularly snake-friendly area of Shawnee National Forest. It's positioned between rocky bluffs that offer great winter hibernation nooks and woody wetlands that offer great summer habitat, and vast numbers of snakes head down to the water in the spring, and up to the bluffs in the fall. The road is closed each spring and fall to allow this migration to occur without lots of snakes being squished by traffic. The road is famous to snake lovers all over the country, at least. This was my first visit.
Many different snakes live in the area, but cottonmouths are by far the most commonly seen. I had never seen a cottonmouth in person before, so I certainly admired the quantity. They are venomous snakes, but not aggressive. They seem to greatly enjoy showing off the white insides of their mouths.The first one we saw was right in the middle of the road, as was another later in the morning. Most of the others were in the water or near the road. The one in the pile of leaves with its mouth wide open was under a log.
- Frank T. Burbrink and Timothy J. Guiher, 2014. Considering gene flow when using coalescent methods to delimit lineages of North American pitvipers of the genus Agkistrodon
- Ashton, R. E. Jr., Ashton, P. S. 1988. Handbook of Reptiles and Amphibians of Florida, Part One: The Snakes, Second Edition
- Bartlett, R. D., Bartlett, P. 2003. Florida's Snakes: A Guide to Their Identification and Habits
- Campbell, J. A., Lamar, W. W. 2004. The Venomous Reptiles of the Western Hemisphere
- Conant, R., Collins, J. T. 1998. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, Third Edition, expanded
- Crother, B. I. (ed.) 2017. Scientific and Standard English Names of Amphibians and Reptiles of North America North of Mexico, with Comments Regarding Confidence in Our Understanding, Eighth Edition
- Ernst, C. H., Ernst, E. M. 2003. Snakes of the United States and Canada
- Tennant, A. 1997. A Field Guide to Snakes of Florida