Southern Copperhead vs. Florida Cottonmouth       An Identification Challenge…Same Genus…Different Species

Jake Scott Photo By Dick Bartlett-2

Jake Scott

Photo by Dick Bartlett

I decided to make a small, simple diagram of some of the basic differences between the Florida Cottonmouth (Water Moccasin) and the Southern Copperhead. To the untrained eye these two species can look quite similar, however, they are dissimilar visually and, while there is some overlap, they are generally found in separate habitats.

Several times a year I will hear someone say, they've seen a copperhead in areas where they do not exist naturally and are likely being misidentified or confused with cottonmouths.

The below picture shows two juveniles. This is because they are most similar at this life stage.

Florida Cottonmouth & Eastern Cottonmouth

Southern Copperhead   

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