Biggest Brown Watersnake I Have Ever Caught!
The weather was overcast this morning, so I wasn’t sure how many reptiles and amphibians we would see on today’s Cypress Swamp Tour. While we didn’t see a huge number, the variety was interesting. We had a small alligator basking on the floating plants for the third trip in a row. There were Green Anoles everywhere. We saw two Green Tree Frogs, demonstrating the extreme variations in their coloration. One was a very dull grayish green color, while the second one was bright green. We saw the usual Yellow-Bellied Sliders, a Red-Eared Slider (non-native species likely escaped from the pet trade) and a few Florida Cooters.
The Osprey couple was still at their nest. We look forward to seeing them raise young Osprey.
The dragonfly hatching continues in the Cypress Swamp. There was a freshly hatched dragonfly with wings that were not spread yet. I can’t wait to see the swamp full of dragonflies again.
The highlight of the trip was at the end – about 30 seconds from the landing. I saw something out of the corner of my eye that made me paddle back to check. It was a massive female Brown Watersnake, laying up on the bank behind a big Bald Cypress Tree. I slipped out of my kayak, and tried to approach her on land, but she was awake, and immediately slithered into the water. Much to my surprise, instead of vanishing under water (as Brown Watersnakes usually do), she floated up next to the wide base of the Cypress Tree. Since her head was towards me, I couldn’t approach her without being seen, so I waded around the tree and approached from the other side, in hopes that she would still be there. I calmly slipped one hand around her fat body, and she didn’t even move. I softly added a second hand, and began to lift her out of the water, and she suddenly came to life. Normally, the large Brown Watersnakes are very docile, but this one was anything but. She lunged at me several times, and tried to get away, but I managed to keep hand-over-handing her for almost a minute until she calmed down. I try to avoid actually gripping the snake, since this frightens them. I just let them run through my hands until they calm down. She spread her head out incredibly wide, and arched her belly to make her look even thicker than she was. It would have been easy for someone to mistake her for a Cottonmouth/Water Moccasin. After that, she was quite gentle, as you can see in the video. One of my guests was not a big fan of snakes, but while she had no interest in holding this snake, even she admitted that this was pretty cool.
Find the Snake
Green Tree Frog
Another Green Tree Frog