Water moccasin

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A water moccasin, S, is a type of monster that appear in NetHack. It is a type of snake that is nearly identical to the standard snake, but is somewhat heavier. Water moccasins can swim and will hide under items like most snakes.

A water moccasin has a single poisonous bite attack, and possesses poison resistance.

A water moccasin corpse is poisonous to eat, but eating a water moccasin corpse or tin has a roughly 311 chance of conveying poison resistance.


Water moccasins are not randomly generated, and are always created hostile.

Water moccasins can only be generated by dipping or quaffing from a fountain: each action has a 130 chance of generating a group of 2-6 water moccasins.[1] While water moccasins are designated as generating in large groups, this only applies to random generation: in addition to water moccasins not using random generation, fountain generation is a separate set of code.


Individually, water moccasins are similar enough to snakes that they can be dispatched through the same methods - however, the normal method of encountering moccasins will usually result in a character being surrounded by quite a few of them. This makes it a potent source of deaths for unsuspecting low-level characters that gamble on fountains; moccasins are also a primary reason that characters seeking to dip for Excalibur will want poison resistance beforehand. Moccasins were previously the fourth most frequent cause of death on nethack.alt.org (after soldier ants, jackals, and wands), and it is still common for some users to exclaim "Go team fountain!" when a water moccasin death is announced in the #nethack channel on Libera.

Engraving Elbereth is a good escape tactic for moccasin attacks, but the fountain square cannot be engraved on: in some cases, a character moving to a free square may also give the moccasins enough time to poison and/or kill them. Pools of water generated previously by the same fountain can also impede escape, and water moccasins generated from the fountains in Delphi can also easily trap a character due to the lack of open squares.

One of the easiest ways for a character to deal with water moccasins is to simply avoid interacting with fountains until they are ready to fight off a swarm of snakes or even a water demon.


The water moccasin first appears in NetHack 3.0.0.


"Water moccasin" (Agkistrodon piscivorus) is one of many common names for a species of pit viper in the subfamily Crotalinae of the family Viperidae - the scientific name translates from Greek and Latin to "hook-toothed fish-eater". The species' other common names include "cottonmouth", "northern cottonmouth", "swamp moccasin", and "black moccasin": many of these refer to its threat display, in which it often stands its ground and gapes at an intruder, exposing the white lining of its mouth. The use of the term can lead to confusion between the venomous cottonmouth and nonvenomous water snakes, particularly in scientific disciplines.

The cottonmouth is one of the world's few semiaquatic vipers, and is native to the Southeastern United States. When threatened, a cottonmouth may respond by coiling its body and displaying its fangs; individuals may bite when feeling threatened or being handled in any way. Adult cottonmouths are large and capable of delivering painful and potentially fatal bites. Cottonmouths tend to be found in or near water, particularly in slow-moving and shallow lakes, streams, and marshes - it is a capable swimmer, and like several species of snakes, it is known to occasionally enter bays and estuaries and swim between barrier islands and the mainland.



In dNetHack, water moccasins can be randomly generated on the Water Temple level of the Chaos Temple Quest, where they make up 310 of the monsters randomly generated there.


In EvilHack, the deeper now-sewage levels of the Gnomish Mines may generate water moccasins in the watery areas at level creation.

Encyclopedia entry

See the encyclopedia entry for snake.