North Eastern Mexico
These are heavy-bodied snakes, and share the same general body structure with cottonmouths. They have a broad, triangular-shaped head with small eyes that have vertical pupils.
Coloration can vary, but most are brown or black, with darker brown or black banding, sometimes with white or cream-colored accents.
Like all pitvipers, the Mexican cantil has a pair of heat-sensitive pits, located between the eye and nostril on each side of the head.
Much like the American cottonmouth, with whom it shares a genus, this species has a reputation for having a nasty disposition and being extremely dangerous, a reputation probably not well deserved. They are generally shy by nature, and if threatened their first instinct is to rely on camouflage. If unable to do so they will use a threat display to ward off potential predators. The tightly coiled animal will raise the last several inches of its tail, this portion often being bright yellow or green in juveniles and a faded yellow or green in adults, the animal will then quickly flick its tail creating a loud whipping sound against its coils or surroundings.
Breeding occurs in the spring, and like most other viper species, cantils are ovoviviparous, giving birth to 5–20 young at a time.
These animals have a yellowish tail, and the young ones in particular have been seen wiggling their tail in front of their head to act as a lure, enticing frogs in who may mistake it for a worm.
|Did YOU Know?|
|It is named in honor of American herpetologist, Edward Harrison Taylor.|
|Length:||25 - 36 inches|
|Average Lifespan:||14 years|
|Wild Diet:||rodents, amphibians|
|Where at the Zoo?||Small Animal Building|