The names “Water Moccasin” and “Cottonmouth” both refer to the same snake. Cottonmouth derives from the fact that a Water Moccasin has a distinctive and almost white interior of the mouth. As I was walking near the Savannah River in Aiken County, South Carolina, I heard a distinctive hissing. As I looked towards the ground I could see the wide open mouth of a Water Moccasin within a foot of where I was standing. Needless to say I quickly backed up. This is quite characteristic of the Water Moccasin and the snakes way of warning me away. If I had stayed a second longer I might have been the victim of its poisonous bite. Snakes don’t really want to bite anything they can’t eat, but will strike to protect themselves. They will also contract their body to allow for maximum spring when they strike. The snake above is in a dangerous posture and approaching too close can be hazardous.