Virginia south throughout Florida, and west to Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas
Adults average 36 inches in length. Heads are spade shaped and noticeably larger and thicker than the necks. At birth, cottonmouths resemble copperhead snakes with their light hourglass markings on a dark reddish background. Adults lose their juvenile coloration and become brownish black in color. Dark brown cheek stripes are edged with light lines. A pair of dark lines runs to the tip of the snout. Faint brown stripes encircle the body. The chin is a light cream color.