Friday Firesmith – Chased by a Cottonmouth

For decades the story of Bigfoot circulated through my life, along with Nessie, and stories of Cottonmouths chasing people. As it turns out, most of the grainy photos of Bigfoot and Nessie were faked, and as the internet was invented, more and more videos that were fakes popped up like mushrooms in cow patties.

But as more fakes appeared, the ability to spot fakes also got better. Two guys in Georgia sold a frozen Bigfoot for fifty grand, got caught, and both are in prison. DNA proved their creature was roadkill stuff inside a gorilla suit.

There’s a FB group dedicated to this very end with about five thousand members. I’m one of them. Each day someone posts a video, sometimes many people post many videos, of human beings interacting with Cottonmouths, and no one, not one person is getting chased, or attacked. Seems like, if you can trust multiple videos by dozens of different people, Cottonmouths aren’t aggressive at all, and they do not chase people.

In fact, since the beginning of time, there have only been four people in the United States that were killed by being bitten by a Cottonmouth. I can dispute half of those. One was a guy who was in training in the Marines and had just run ten miles. The other was a drunk who didn’t seek treatment, and he was using meth. That leaves two people, ever.

Now, if these creatures are aggressive, and they chase people, they do not seem to be very good at what they are famous for, are they? You’d think after thousands of years of chasing people they would have caught more than two or three, don’t you?

You would think, wouldn’t you, if these stories are true, then there would be many more videos of Cottonmouths chasing people, and not so many of Cottonmouths not chasing people.

Here’s a photo for you to think about, the classic posture of a Cottonmouth, with its mouth agape, fangs out, head thrown back.

The one video many of us are waiting for, is proof of a Cottonmouth chasing someone.

But it is not chasing me, is it?

I’ve been doing this for over fifty years. That’s five decades of fieldwork. Not once, ever, have I been chased.

But let me close with a video. It speaks for itself.

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

8 thoughts on “Friday Firesmith – Chased by a Cottonmouth”

  1. Poor thing probably only wanted to sun on the warm road without knowing how dangerous that is.
    So cute how it wiggles away.
    Absolutely weird how some creatures get a bad reputation despite most of them not killing that many people.
    Like sharks – or clowns.
    Another case of “if you don’t anger it, it probably won’t hurt you”.
    Just like bees – or woman.

  2. Only been 4(or 3 or 2) reported Cottonmouth deaths in history.
    The key being, reported.
    How many missing persons are reported after a Cottonmouth chased them down, killed them, dragged the body back to the lair, lit a bonfire, and called all their friends and relatives to dance around the corpse?

  3. I believe most wild animals if they have a choice, will avoid human interaction if at all possible. I can’t say as I blame them, I’m kind of the same. I have found it to be more peaceful, as I’m sure they have as well.

  4. I ran up on one by surprise once. Funny how they seem to be so huge when you aren’t expecting them. I had a walking stick and a brief moment of panic when I swung the stick at him as I jumped backwards. He did come towards me for a second or two, but I truly believe he was a confused and surprised and panicked as I was. both of us turned tail and ran in different directions and neither of us wound up chasing the other.

    I am not afraid of snakes, poisonous or otherwise, but will admit your heart will race for a bit when you nearly step on one…

    • Greg, 2009, 2010, I stepped on a Cottonmouth BOTH years, and in about the same place. As much work as I have done with these animals I have to admit both encounters ruined me for working for the rest of the day. It’s primal. It’s an event that reached deep when you come up on one by surprise and you have to retreat, and calm your heartbeat.

      They can scare the hell out of you. They are not likely to kill you. They aren’t likely to injure you. But they are armed, and they can inflict some damage. And to have one appear out of nowhere is one of the most frightening events you can have.


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