I am new to Kayaking and I am very concerned about the water moccasins I have seen in the lake.

Has anyone bumped into a snake like this while Kayaking? What do they do? I am afraid they will try to enter my boat.



not to worry …
don’t pick one up and they won’t pick on you. they won’t climb in your boat, won’t climb up your paddle, won’t jump onto your spray deck … they’re alot more afraid of you than you are of them. or in your case … maybe not. hahahaha

I Have Seen It Happen…
It was kind of funny in a way…

My Dad was a Army Special Forces Officer. We were fishing on Victory Pond at Fort Benning and one came at the rowboat. He swore it would not try to get in the boat, but it did.

Of course, it didn’t last long…Dad never did take very kindly to being proven wrong…

Seen a bunch of Sea Snakes
off Okinawa. I inadvertantly picked one up on a paddle stroke once. Slipped off the paddle and we quickly went our seperate ways

No Worry
Water Mocs are agressive snake as snakes go. But, I have never seen one swim to a boat, let alone try and climb in a boat. I am not sure I have heard of one bothering a boater when the boater was in the boat.

If you frequent lakes that have lots of water mocs I would watch my step while putting in and taking out. Not sure Id worry much while I was paddling.

Happy Paddling,


I’ve seen it.

– Last Updated: Jun-14-06 8:15 PM EST –

I saw a water snake trying to approach a fellow kayaker...he had to aggressively push it away with his paddle. Snakes like to climb on things (like rocks and trees) to get some sunlight, and I think they see a kayak as just another something to climb on...until they see you moving, then they quickly change their mind. So, if you're just sitting there not moving, they may approach, but will avoid you when you're paddling.

I think someone should make a movie about being miles from shore and having a snake in your cockpit! I'd go see it.

Sure argues for using a skirt
and being cautious about where you practice rolling when you get to that part.

move north!!

Don’t worry about it…
Just because a snake is in the water does not make it a Water Mocassin. More than likely it is a Northern or Common Banded Water snake, non-venomous. I forget the statistic ,for what it is worth, but 80% of the snakebite victims are young males and are bitten on the forearm. Alcohol is involved in most cases.

Don’t worry, just get out and enjoy, use common sense.

And this…
…One of the rules of boating in the south is

do NOT shoot at snakes in your boat. Another is

never swim with pissed off cottonmouths.

Actually cottonmouth bites in the water are quite


They are generally harmless, and unless very

tired will rarely try to get in a boat.

It’s best to use caution before paddling under

low hanging branches, however.

If you see one, don’t try to out run it (out

paddle it I mean!). What happens is that your

boat will create an eddy and the snake may take

the path of least resistance and follow you.

The faster you go, the easier it is for them to

follow you. It can be unnerving.

If you can, turn 90 degrees and paddle as slowly

as your heart will allow, then continue on your

way after you get safely away.

Cottonmouths on land are foul tempered, evil and

should be avoided at all costs. In the water

they are easily avoided.

They typically swim with their heads high out of

the water. They aren’t actually a water snake,

they are really a land animal that enjoys the


I have seen my share of them, all sorts of sizes and have NEVER been “chased” by one. However, a copperhead tried to get in my boat last week when it was crossing the same river I was paddling. It only took a couple of paddle strokes for me to move safely away. But, I had gotten a little closer than I should have for the pictures.

Lake Travis
I grew up in Texas and have been to and in Lake Travis many times. Have never seen a single cottonmouth/water moc in the water there.

Rattlesnakes also swim. Thought I’d give you something else to worry about. Some snakes even swim underwater and prey on fish. Love them snakes.

Cottonmouth snakes are in Central
Texas, but that’s not their preferred habitat. You are more likely to encounter them East of I 35 and especially in East, Southeast, and coastal counties of Texas. The are aggressive in comparison with most venemous snakes, have very little brain capacity, and can do damage. As for getting into boats, that happens, but its not usually a case in which the snake climbs into the kayak with you, that’s rare. More likely to happen is the cottonmouth falls into your vessel from a tree limb or goes on attack when you pass close by. Bites are rare and most of us never encounter a cottonmouth. I wouldn’t worry about them, just be watchful. And, most of the water snakes you see are NOT cottonmouth water moccasins, but harmless water snakes. If you have a phobia about snakes, you’ll never go into the water. A few weekends ago, on Lake Livingston, I counted 50 water snakes in one small inlet.

I once saw a blooper on a fishing
show and a snake came off a tree branch into the boat they were filming. So be carefull, I have heard that they like to hang on branches that hang over the water.

chased is the wrong verb…
…followed would be more correct. It SEEMS

like they are chasing you when they get in your

boat’s eddy and stay behind you.

all snakes can swim…
…i doubt cottonmouths do much feeding underwater.

They aren’t an aquatic animal. Like us, they

just prefer water.

Throw you orange peels at it…
then that will take it’s mind off you and you can slip away before it realizes you are gone.



Chased or followed
Cottonmouths, I have never been bothered in any way shape or form. Maybe watched, but that is it.

And I too have read that all snakes swim.

rather be bitten by a water moc than move North!

Happy Paddling,