Thanks for some learnin
Hello, gigmaster I appreciate the info on the sjambok. I’m going to have to get me one. I think the 42" would be the best for close quarters defense and limited space on the boat. I do believe that they would make short work of an aggressive snake although I’m glad I won’t be facing no king cobra. I have been in close quarters with several snakes in the last three months. Most of them were not that interested in me thank God. They would just go about their way and I went mine. Thanks to all of you who have posted and given comments and advice. You never know how you may have helped someone in a pinch. I hope everybody has had a fun, safe and productive summer.

I hate big snakes
And that’s why the first 2 holes of my fishing revolver are stuffed with shot cartridges.

Snakes don’t bother me at all…
I don’t bother them either…

Last year I saw my first Coral Snake in the wild, got about 3 feet from it to take a picture with my Camera phone. Awesome creatures.

Since moving to my house here on the coast, I have seen 6 snakes in the yard and the coral snake on the dirt road 100 feet away.

Only the Coral Snake and a Copperhead, I encountered when I pulled up the old deck to replace it, were poisonous. Accidently killed the Copperhead trying to escort it out of the yard to the woodline on three side… I was using a long piece of 2/4" pvc to strike the ground behind it and force it away from the house and towards the woods… It turned quickly and my aim was not as good as I thought, and the pvc struck it right on the head, killing it instantly. Dang they are delicate snake.

Have seen a Southern Hognosed Snake (Though blacker than typical), a Rough Green Snake, a Corn Snake, a Black Racer, and a Eastern Garter Snake.

Lots of Green Anoles, Southeastern Five Lined Skink, Eastern Glass amd Island Glass Lizards in the area too…

Plus lots of Frgos and Toads… When I get my water feature completed, these will increase too.


A busy snake
Yesterday me and my buddy saw a snake laying on a huge slab of rock eating a fish! We weren’t sure what it was eating then we could see the fishes tail as it was the last part to disappear. It was about four to five feet long, my buddy kept saying it was a copperhead but it was a dull brown I think it was a common water snake but I’m no expert. It finished it’s meal and entered the water heading straight for me til I swiftly paddled away. We both watched it eat, it was like watching an animal show but it wasn’t as bad as a corral snake!!

For all the good it’ll do you
I’ve seen even modest sized snakes shot point blank with three rounds of scatter shot from a .357 magnum and it didn’t seem to bother the snakes much. Sure, big hunks of flesh were exposed, but they didn’t slow down or turn course.

The best defense is just get the hell out of there.

  • Big D

another satisfied snake
A couple weeks ago we saw another snake eating a fish. This time it was a copperhead no mistake and he was eating a small catfish. I wouldn’t think they would try a catfish because the barbs. He had a little trouble getting his meal ashore. Everytime he tried to get a better bit the fish would almost escape. I think he got a little nervous with the audience so we left him in peace. It was interesting to watch though, it is amazing sometimes what you get to see from a kayak. Animals don’t seem as scared of a boat that makes very little noise. Here in North Carolina we have just went through our fist cool snap,temps in the high 40’s people are putting away their motor boats and jetskis or maybe putting them up for sale now. A lot of their lake houses put up for the season now. The lakes will be a lot calmer but colder for kayaks and canoes. I hope the fishing is even better next spring. I can’t wait til all the new great and wonderful things fishing from my kayak!!

I gotta point out that NO snake spends more than a few minutes at a time on the bottom of a lake. Those couldn’t have been snakes you were touching…if they had been, you’d have been surrounded by surfacing snakes and you’d have known it!

Snakes only concentrate in given areas during the times when they are moving to and from hibernation. You might see “several” snakes in a small area quite commonly, but not what you’d consider large concentrations of them unless you are very near a hibernation site.

In the Ozarks, a few outlaws still do a lot of hand-fishing…sticking their hands up into underwater cavities like hollow logs or under rocks, to catch spawning catfish. (It’s illegal in Missouri, but some still do it.) Most people shudder at the thought, because they imagine all these snakes hiding in the underwater cavities. But the old-timer I knew who did it all the time said he’d NEVER encountered a snake in such a situation. They simply don’t spend much time at all underwater, and almost never on the bottom or in cavities, unless those cavities are only partially underwater where they can lie in hiding and still breathe easily. On the other hand, a rock lying at water’s edge, partially submerged, is a great place to encounter a water snake. It’ll be hidden under the rock but usually lying under the part of the rock that allows them to stay out of the water. (Also on the other hand, the hand-fishers often encounter big snapping turtles hiding in logs that are shallow enough that the turtles can stretch their necks out and get their noses out of the water to breathe. Snappers are alert and wary, and they immediately duck entirely into the log when somebody approaches. Fortunately for the hand-fisher guys, they are fairly docile when completely submerged, and they guys who like turtle meat just feel along the edge of the shell until they reach the tail, grab it, and yank the turtle out!)

Seems to me…
that we had a big argument about how likely it was to encounter copperheads in and around water a while back. Copperheads aren’t aquatic, so are certainly no more likely to be found around water than any other terrestrial snake…not to say they WON’T be found around water occasionally. In 50 years or so of frequenting streams, mostly in the Ozarks where copperheads are very common, I can count on the fingers of both hands with a few digits left over the number of copperheads I’ve seen in and around the water. Most people don’t have a clue how to ID copperheads, and so any brown snake with any kind of darker blotches is automatically a copperhead to them, meaning every common water snake.

Having said that, I wouldn’t be surprised if it really was a copperhead on the stump. One of those very few times I’ve encountered a copperhead in the water was last spring. I was solo floating the James River in Missouri, and happened to glance upstream and saw a large snake swimming downstream toward me, a good fifty yards away. My first thought was “cottonmouth”, because the snake was swimming like a cottonmouth. Cottonmouths usually swim with their whole bodies only partially submerged, as if their bodies are much lighter than the water, and their heads held a little higher and at a 45 degree angle, while common non-poisonous water snakes usually swim with only their heads out of the water, their bodies completely submerged. This one was swimming just like a cottonmouth, but it was the wrong color, and I was pretty sure it was a big copperhead because of the very bright coppery color I could see even at that distance. I turned the canoe sideways in the very slow current and watched the snake come closer and closer until it was only about six feet from the canoe. At this point, if I believed all the hype about snakes charging people, I would have been certain that was what was happening. But I knew the snake was only investigating the canoe as a possible place to get out of the water. Still, I didn’t want a three foot plus copperhead coming into the canoe with me, so I pushed the paddle blade toward it. It veered away from the paddle and swam under the very front end of the canoe, out the other side, and on down to a small log jam thirty feet downstream, where it crawled out and stretched out in the sun. I paddled close and took a couple photos…beautiful snake and about the biggest copperhead I can remember seeing.

copperheads are often found …

– Last Updated: Oct-13-10 11:45 PM EST –

...... sunning on rocks , tree limbs at the water's edge . Also on rocks that are in the water .

Like you , I have come across copperheads at the water environment probably about as many times . Then again , probably no more than that many times away from the water environment as well ... so that's about fifty-fifty for me .

Copperheads do swim in the water just as you have described ... to me that , and the finding them at the water debunks the theory that they are not aquatic .

Vipers are not difficult to positively identify as long as you can get a good look , they have very distinctive ID features that are unmistakable and not found on any other snakes ... color being the "least" of those features .

The trail of dead hikers behind them
To me, that’d be the first clue.


  • Big D

hate snakes
I hate seeing snakes while kayaking. makes me cringe…haha happy paddling

Might have been a juvenile
Water Moccasin… They get darker as they age, and start off larger than their cousins, Copperheads.

Also, could have been a light colored Water Moccasin… If albinos exist, which they can and do, then lighter colored ones could also appear.


Ahh! Snakes…said with nostalgia
When I was younger a friend and I considered ourselves junior herpetologists. We’d go into various ecosystems looking for the snakes you could find there. We actually became very good at it. I’m sure if our parents realized how successful we had become at finding and collecting water moccasins, they would have croaked. Right after they’d have croaked us.

Anyways, the lesson here is to be able to identify what you encounter. Even if you don’t like snakes, knowing what you’re facing is better for you and the snake.

Have fun.