Rattlesnake, Cottonmouth Face Off in a Battle of Nature’s Nastiest Serpents

When these two venomous snakes cross paths, only one survives.

In this video, a rattlesnake wanders directly into the path of a hungry cottonmouth and the encounter ends swiftly.

Both are highly venomous and have been known to prey on other snakes occasionally, so perhaps this could have gone either way. But the cottonmouth strikes first, delivering a dose of paralyzing venom with one bite.

Cottonmouth snakes, which are also known as water mocassins, grow up to 5 feet long and have a distinctive triangular head and thick, muscular body. The semi-aquatic species can be found throughout the southeastern United States near swamps, lakes, streams and other water sources.

The rattlesnake in this video is considerably smaller than its opponent, but some species can reach lengths of up to 8 feet. Rattlesnakes are often preyed upon by kingsnakes, but death by cottonmouth is not unheard of either.

Both rattlesnakes and cottonmouths are pit vipers. They have snake heat-sensing pits between their eyes and nostrils, which allow them to track prey by detecting subtle differences in temperatures.

Once the rattlesnake is paralyzed, the cottonmouth proceeds to devour it whole. While some snakes regularly have other snakes for dinner, it can be a bit of a struggle when they attempt to eat one that is just as long or even greater than their own body length. They accomplish this by essentially folding the prey into waves using their esophageal muscles.

This cottonmouth, however, doesn’t seem to be having too much trouble.

This sighting was filmed in the Everglades. Just another day in Florida!