Agkistrodon conanti, 15 March 2019

Agkistrodon conanti, the Florida cottonmouth;
Miami-Dade county, Florida (15 March 2019).

Here’s a lovely defensive display from an impressively dark and contrasty Florida cottonmouth. Though some people might view this behavior as “aggression,” it is simply and categorically a defensive display. There is absolutely nothing aggressive about a snake gaping an open-mouth warning to a human lumbering over it with a camera. This snake is basically saying, quite calmly I might add, “Back up, Bub. This isn’t something we should do.” As always, I agreed and backed off. The snake went about its night. No chases. No violence. Just a quiet encounter on a lonely stretch of road in late one night.

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