The Effects of Water Moccasin Bites

Water moccasins can be aggressive.
Water moccasins can be aggressive. (Image: water moccasin image by Earl Robbins from

Water moccasins are large, aggressive snakes typically found near water. Their range covers the Eastern coastal plain from Texas to Virginia, and inland from Georgia to Oklahoma, Missouri and Texas, according to the Ohio Public Library Information Network. The snake will often stand up for itself when it feels threatened. Water moccasins account for about 42 percent of all snake bites in the United States each year, according to Medscape.

Common Effects

The common effects of a water moccasin bite are pain around the bite wound, nausea and vomiting, swelling, diarrhea and temporary loss—or near loss—of consciousness (syncope), according to Medscape.

Bite Site Effects

Certain effects occur at the bite site. Fang marks are commonly noticed, but not always. Other effects are tenderness, hemorrhagic vesicles, local edema (fluid buildup), local skin redness, ecchymoses (bruise bigger than 1 cm), bullae (blisters bigger than 1 cm in width) and bleeding into the tissues, according to Medscape.

Other Effects

Water moccasin bites commonly cause tachycardia (abnormally rapid heart rate) because of anxiety, pain and inflammation-related fluid accumulation between the fascia and skin (third-spacing), according to Medscape. Hypotension (low blood pressure) is not common, but when it does occur, it is typically because of intravascular volume depletion (depletion of blood volume in circulatory system), according to Medscape.

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