Can rattlesnkes swim?


That’s one big snake…

– Last Updated: Mar-17-09 1:19 PM EST –

just looking for a dry spot. I can't believe those guys just didn't fire up the engine and drive away.

My wife and I were paddling Mott Lake on Ft Bragg one day, and saw a snake swimming across the lake. We paddled over to investigate and it was a big, fat cottonmouth. He wanted nothing to do with us and did nothing but swim faster to get to shore and away from us.

yes. but the question is:
…will they chase your canoe? And can they keep up with you?

Unusual reaction,
and strange behaviour for any snake. I wonder how long it had been in the water, and how far from land. I have seen cottonmouth moccasins swim with that much body on top of the water, but never a rattler. I assume it was fresh water from the type of rod, but salt water would probably float a snake that high. Interesting!

It’s probably a Good thing for them
it was a rattler and not a Water Moccasin/Cottonmouth. They are much better swimmers and are one of the few (only?) variety of snake which will pursue you vs retreating if you pas them off and then back off. Other snakes will let you go.

We had a Water Moccasin come swimming at us like that last week on the Estero River in Florida when we were hanging out taking a break, but it changed directions as soon as our paddles started moving to position to paddle away.

Are you sure that it is actually
a rattler and not a water moccasin? I was under the impression that only W.M’s swam with the whole body on the surface, as did the snake in the vid.


Definitely a Eastern Diamondback…
Rattler based on diamonds on back and banded tail with rattles.

unusual action…
I’ve seen snakes try to board boats when they were exhausted. All snakes will avoid people as much as possible unless they are in desperate straits. This snake more than likely was blown off course or carried to the water by a predator then left to swim for it. It probably had no other choice than to swim for the boat or drown.

Western Diamondback
The Western is the classic cowboy movie rattler. Similar pattern to Eastern, more brownish/sand/dusty color range - compare photo to closeups in video.

I’ve seen them swimming near my boat at least twice. One of those times, I slowly paddled closer to it to get a better look. BAD IDEA! The snake tried to slither onto my rear deck. I hurried away, amazed at its boldness.

Good thing the little buggers don’t have hands.

You could be right…
I wonder where the video was made since the Eastern and Western are basically the same snake.

Rattlesnake boarder
That’s what caused one previous owner to give up on paddling and sell me his boat for a real good price. He said it came straight at hijm and slipped right into the boat, quicker than he could pull in his line. He decided to stick to bigger boats. Maybe it has something to do with the fishing…

My mistake

It apears that ALL pit vipers are bouyant.


An excellant article!
Thanks Jim. Ken…

The snake in the video looked bouyant.

Waterton Canyon – Rattler Heaven
I’ve seen them swim across the South Platte on the lower section of the Canyon - did not even slow them down.

Lake Falcon, TX - according to Youtube

Lake Falcon is on the Mexico border.

You’re definitely right then…
I wasn’t sure just based on coloring considering the lighting. But, that’s western diamondback territory, although easterns can be found in parts of Texas.

yes all reptiles can swim.