can you eat water moccasin

Can You Eat Water Moccasin? – A Real Concern

Ever found a water moccasin in your nearby lake and killed it? Well, you did the right thing. 

But are you wondering if you can tan its skin and eat the meat? I must say, the thought of it is pretty interesting.

So can you eat a water moccasin?

Well, yes you can eat a water moccasin. But you’ll need to be cautious because the snake is quite venomous. To avoid getting its venom inside you, you must kill the snake without hurting its venom sac right behind its head. However, the taste and smell of the meat may not be for you.

This was just the surface level talk. To get a deeper idea about moccasin snakes and eating them, read our article. 

Water Moccasin

Water moccasins, otherwise known as cottonmouth, are extremely venomous water snakes. Their venom contains hemotoxin that breaks down blood cells. This prevents the blood from clotting or coagulation. 

Water moccasins don’t usually bite humans. But when these snakes are threatened, they bite humans which is pretty dangerous.

A water moccasin bite could seriously harm an individual. The spread of the venom could even result in hemorrhaging throughout the circulatory system of the body.

Here’s the thing, even though water moccasin bites can be deadly, they don’t actually cause death. Rather the venom causes extreme harm and makes the victims suffer excessively.  

How to Identify A Water Moccasin?

Often people confuse water moccasins with typical water snakes. Now the normal water snakes aren’t harmful like this one. 

So whether you want to eat these snakes or kill them out of defense, make sure to target the right snake. There’s no point in killing a water snake when all they do is swim around the lakes. It is important to be able to differentiate between water moccasins and water snakes and identify them properly. So here’s how to identify a water moccasin

Water moccasins have quite thick and heavy bodies compared to that of water snakes. These snakes have a short and thick tail. Water snakes do have a similar length but their bodies are slender.

Water moccasins also have large, blocky heads with a narrow neck. That’s how they are distinctly different from a water snake. 

Moreover, water moccasins are pretty aggressive. They usually don’t bite people. But when they feel threatened, they coil their body and open their mouth wide, revealing their fangs to bite the victim. Yeah, that’s your signal; the exposure of the pale white skin of the mouth. That’s when you know it’s about to get to you. So hurry and shoot it down.


Can A Water Moccasin Be Eaten?

Now you might be wondering if you can eat a water moccasin. Well, yes you can definitely eat a water moccasin. Even though the snake can cause a deadly reaction if its venom spreads. Eating venomous snake meat as such can be tricky. 

Most people prefer not to eat these snakes, in case the venom remains in the body and is ingested via the meat. But knowing the right way to eat it can make it worthwhile. 

Now there’s something that you need to keep in mind. The water moccasin has a venom sac behind its head. This is the place from where the poison is released. 

So make sure to not cut or eat it before removing the sac. Because if the venom spreads while cutting the sac, the whole meat will become toxic. And instead of enjoying a good meal, you’ll end up lying on the hospital bed.  

Things to consider

You’ll have to consider a lot of things when eating water moccasin. Here are some factors you should keep in mind before you go munching down on its meat:


First of all, these aren’t as flavorful as rattlesnakes. So hold that thought if you want to move forward with it.

Water moccasin meat is tasteless and you can only make them flavourful by adding spices. However,  in case you’re stranded in a jungle and can’t find any other source of food. You can definitely opt for this one. 


These snakes stink and smell musky. Now, most snakes do smell when they’re killed but eventually, the smell goes away. But it’s not the same for water moccasins. These snakes smell way too pungent and it’s quite intolerable. 

The cleaning process becomes very difficult because of the odor that comes from the snake. So if you’re okay with it, go ahead and eat these snakes. 


Now skinning the snake is a bit harder than usual because even after you’ve killed them, the body seems to move a lot. Yeah, that’s right. Even after cutting the head of the venomous snake, its body curls up which makes the skinning process time-consuming.

How To Eat A Water Moccasin?

You can try various methods of cooking water moccasin and eating it. But before you eat the meat, make sure to cut the head off 2-3 inches from its skull. Remove the skin of the snake and take out the spine or spinal nerve. 

Now you can’t debone the snake because there’s too little meat. Deboning the snake would result in loss of meat. Small snakes like water moccasins have to be cooked on the bone. Moreover smaller snakes have barely any meat so de-boning would waste more meat. You can’t expect to enjoy chunks of meat from this snake. 

Now that you know how to eat the water moccasin you killed with your homemade pistol shotshells, you need to follow a few recipes to add some flavor to the meat. 

Recipe 1: Water Moccasin Snake Fry

Making fried snakes is the easiest way to cook snake meat. To make the fried snake, you’ll need the following ingredients-

  • 1 Egg white
  • 1 box of corn-bread wheat/ flour 
  • Cooking oil 
  • Black pepper
  • Salt 

Step 1 of 4: Cut the snake into chunks

Once the snake has been skinned and cleaned properly, cut the snake into chunks. Wash the meat again with cold water. Make sure it is clean and fresh.

Step 2 of 4: Dip in beaten egg white

Beat the egg white well in a separate bowl. Now, put the chunks of meat into the bowl and coat it with the egg white. This mixture acts as a binding agent. 

Step 3 of 4: Coat with cornbread 

First of all, add salt and pepper to the cornbread mix in another bowl. Now, take out the meat and coat them with the cornbread mix very well. Coat all sides properly. So that you get an even layer of the mix.

Step 4 of 4: Fry in Oil 

Heat vegetable oil in a pan. The oil must cover half an inch of the pan. Fry the coated meat in oil until they are golden brown. Make sure to fry one at a time to avoid undercooked meat. Putting too many chunks at a time reduces the temperature of the oil making the meat soggy. Also, make sure to drop the meat slowly to avoid skin burn. 

Your meat should be ready to eat when they are golden brown. Take them out and place them on a plate with a paper towel to dry out excess oil. 


Recipe 2: Snake meat Curry

Making snake curry is a long process but this will most definitely add flavor to the tasteless water moccasin. Now usually snake curries call for deboning the meat. But in the case of water mocassin, you can’t debone the meat so you just have to continue without doing so. 

Now, before you begin the cooking process, simmer the snake meat in a pot of hot water with some lemon juice and spices for 1 hour. Doing this helps to avoid the snake meat from smelling bad.

After the simmering is done, it’s time to cook the snake. To make the snake curry, you’ll need the following ingredients-

  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 3 chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper
  • 28 oz of diced tomato 
  • Dry rosemary leaves 
  • 28 oz of Chili beans 
  • Salt
  • Cumin
  • Black pepper
  • Juice from ½  lemon

To make the curry, you just need to add all the mentioned ingredients including the chunks of snake meat into a pot. Now slow-cook the meat for 6-8 hours, or bring the meat to boil and simmer for 2 hours. For extra spice and flavor,  you can add green chili and dried herbs if you wish. Voila! Your delicious snake curry is now ready.

Recipe 3: Snake Meat Soup

Now this recipe is convenient for people out in the jungle and hiking. Because it requires little to no effort. 

To make your snake soup, all you need to do is just boil up a pot of water and throw in the chunks of snake meat into it. Let the meat boil in the water. Add in additional flavorings such as salt, pepper, rosemary. You can also add in mushrooms if you find those in the jungle. 

When the water starts to become cloudy like a stew, your soup should be ready. So you can gobble the snake meat right after killing the snake. 

Preserving the Snake Meat

Now what to do if you don’t want to cook your meat right away? Well, you can preserve the meat for future use. You can do this using two completely different methods. 

Method 1 of 2: Soak in Brine 

Brine is actually just highly concentrated salt water solution.You can soak the meat chunks in brine or even put the entire snake into the brine. But before you do that, you’ll need to skin the snake.Maybe you can tan the snakeskin and soak it in brine for preserving it as well. 

But there’s a catch- the brine solution is a temporary method of preserving the snake meat. You can only preserve the meat in brine for 2-3 days. Moreover, water moccasins have thin meat so you can’t store them for too long otherwise the meat gets spoiled.

Method 2 of 2: Dehydrate the Snake Meat

To store the water moccasin meat long term, you can dehydrate the meat chunks and fry them. Just like you’d do to make bacon bits. This process is pretty convenient for water moccasin meat as it’s thin and not chunky. 

This way you can preserve the snake meat and consume water moccasin at the same time.


Question: Can a water moccasin bite kill a human? 

Answer: Water moccasin bites are much more dangerous and harmful to humans than the bite of a copperhead.  Although, it doesn’t lead to death but is quite painful.

Question: What does a water moccasin smell like?

Answer: Water moccasin smells very bad and funky. It smells much like a skunk and is quite intolerable.


That was all from us. Eating water moccasins can be harmful to your health if you don’t follow the right method of eating them. So make sure to follow all the instructions and keep all the considerations in mind.

We hope our detailed discussion will help in deciding how to consume water moccasin. 

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