The New Student's Reference Work/Moccasin (snake)
Moccasin (mŏk′kȧ-sĭn), a very poisonous snake of the southern United States. It belongs to the rattlesnake family, but the tail is short and ends in a horny point instead of a rattle. The water moccasin is the most dreaded snake of the United States. The rattlesnake strikes only when disturbed, and gives warning by its rattle. The moccasin strikes without warning at anything that displeases it. It is an expert swimmer. Often it lies on bushes overhanging streams, watching for frogs and fish. It occurs from North Carolina to southern Illinois and Arkansas and south. Its closest relative is the copperhead or upland moccasin, commonly called the cotton-mouth.