A Water Moccasin is called a cottonmouth because of the white interior of its mouth, which it displays as a defensive warning when threatened. The white color gives the appearance of cotton, hence the name cottonmouth.

I was hiking an area of the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma (4-27-2014) when I came across this Water Moccasin in my path. It was a cool morning so I thought this snake would be a little sluggish so I decided to approach it for a closeup. I walked up from behind it and got low for a shot. I was wrong! It wasn’t sluggish! It turns and lunged at me with its mouth wide open. This was more of a threatening move which worked because after taking a few photos I left it alone.

If your out hiking and especially hiking with a camera, be careful and watch for snakes. I have learned over the years to watch where I step as I look for wildlife to photograph.

Cottonmouth - Water Moccasin
Cottonmouth – Water Moccasin

I was hand-holding a Canon EOS 7D with a Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6L IS lens attached.

Camera Settings

  • AV Mode
  • Back-button focus
  • Aperture f6.3
  • ISO 1000
  • Shutter speed – 1/800 sec.
  • Auto White Balance
  • Single Point, Continuous Auto Focus
  • Multi Metering
  • Focal Length – 400 mm