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Cottonmouth Dance Time?

leah kirk

Mating season for Cottonmouths in the South is typically in late spring and early summer, but no one told these male Cottonmouths at Back Bay area of Maryland. In October male Cottonmouths will often engage in a “combat dance” ritual for mating rites. No biting is involved, just a good ol’ fashion wrestling match, which ends when the larger male has pinned the smaller challenger to the ground. After mating, females will give live birth (average litter size is 7) the following year in late summer or early fall. Although Cottonmouths are venomous and put on a good defensive show by opening their mouths to display the cotton white interior of their mouths, stories of them “chasing” people and their aggressiveness is mostly folklore or a misunderstanding of their behavior.
Learn more about the facts and fiction surrounding Cottonmouths and other snakes, you can obtain a copy of A Guide to the Snakes and Lizards of Virginia at