Mexican Cantil

Agkistrodon bilineatus

Clever Snake

Unlike other fast-moving snakes, the cantil has a short, heavy body. As juveniles, they will lure potential prey by wiggling their bright yellow tail as if to mimic a worm, which attracts frogs, lizards, or other prey items.

About the Species

The Mexican cantil is a venomous pit viper, in the Agkistrodon genus.

This is the same genus as the native cottonmouth. Like all pit vipers, the Mexican cantil has a pair of heat-sensitive pits, located between the eye and nostril on each side of the head. The Mexican cantil is a dark brown ground color, overlaid with darker brown or black bands, often fringed with white or cream scales. Juvenile cantils usually possess more distinctive banding and brightly colored tails, which is used to lure prey.

Words From the Experts


This animal performs a behavior known as caudal luring. The tip of the tail is a pale yellow color, which it uses as a lure to attract its prey within striking distance.


Did You Know?

The Mexican cantil has the longest fangs of any species within the Agkistrodon genus, growing over one centimeter in length.



There are three subspecies of the Mexican cantil located in three geographical areas in parts of Mexico and Central America


Prefers areas bordering rivers or streams, but may also occur in grasslands and cultivated lands.


Average length is 80 cm.


A variety of vertebrates: amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.


Natural Defenses

Venomous and camouflage


The Mexican cantil gives live birth to young. There are usually five to ten in a litter.


Near threatened

Life Expectancy

5 to 10 years

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