Old Santee Canal Park... Water Moccasin (Cottonmouth)...

by Russell Smith November. 23, 2019 211 views

I was in need of some Nature Therapy today and well shutter therapy goes hand in hand with that . Along my wanderings in the 200ish acres of the park I had the thought it is a bit warm and I have not seen a snake in ages. Then I thought well it has been a bit cool for them so probably will not see any and I continued to wander.

I saw a symmetrical S curve and almost walked on however I thought to myself wait what a tree branch and S curve.... Nope back up and look again. Dark brown pale cream and a rust color. Hmmm Ok Yahtzee..... Closer look at the head shape and yepper. This guy is a Agkistrodon piscivorus aka Cottonmouth. A pit viper. I have seen a few at the park before. I was loving the light falling on him/her. Time to take the camera off the tripod.


Oh boy this is going to be a challenge. I am working a safe distance but I need about 10 feet (little over 3 meters) to focus lens and I am working on a boardwalk near a bend. I got this shot then I sat for a moment. Something is off about this snakes head profile...... I was able to get it to turn around and look at me. It is missing an eye... I think. Pinch to zoom into the image and it looks that way.

I walk back and forth on the boardwalk so the vibrations would get it to turn a bit more.'

Yepper it is missing an eye . It does not look like a wound so I will have to look more into this I am thinking.

The colors and tones are rather beautiful to me. This is a species that is usually a dark grey/black almost mud colored so it was nice seeing one with color.

Ohhh it realized I was there and now is watching me. Not an aggressive gesture just trying to see what this large creature above it was doing.

Something caught its attention in the water and it quickly lost interest in me.

It decided to leave the log that it was on and investigate whatever it saw in the water. The whole encounter lasted about 20 min. Knowing this guy can be temperamental and skittish I was glad for the cooler weather to relax it some. Now about the missing eye part. I just did a quick search and well on Mon. I am going to reach out to a DNR (dept. Natural resources) or wildlife officer and see if they can put me in touch with a biologist. I am hoping this is not one of the fungus that is starting to effect snake populations because well they are a beauty even if they are deadly.

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Buster Bruce 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Trophy club winner!

2 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Russell Smith Replied to Buster Bruce 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Thank you :)

2 months, 2 weeks ago Edited
Antonio Gil 2 months, 3 weeks ago

What a beautiful creature my friend. Your pictures are amazing. Love it

2 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Russell Smith Replied to Antonio Gil 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Thank you. They are amazing creatures.

2 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Benny Law 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I wonder how its missing eye affects its ability to hunt for prey and survive. From your narrative, it seems to be coping.

2 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Russell Smith Replied to Benny Law 2 months, 3 weeks ago

They are a pit viper so I would think it is minimal although. I am supprised it was not more defensive.

2 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Sherry Hill 2 months, 3 weeks ago

beautiful photos Russell, i find snakes interesting.. this year all i saw was a small northern water snake headed towards my pond.. i'd be giddy to see such a glorious snake.. i will be interested in knowing what is found out about the missing eye..

2 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Russell Smith Replied to Sherry Hill 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I respect them and the venomous ones I respect even more but they are beautiful animals. I will do an update if I find anything out.

2 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Carl Schraefel 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Adventurous photos.

2 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Russell Smith Replied to Carl Schraefel 2 months, 3 weeks ago

:) thank you

2 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Trinicia Perch 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Wow, wonderful shots!

2 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
Russell Smith Replied to Trinicia Perch 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Thank you. I was like a kid in I would say a candy store but I think Fireworks store is more appropriate lol.

2 months, 3 weeks ago Edited
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