Spring Break 2018: Brown Watersnake in the Foliage

Nerodia taxispilota, the Brown watersnake;
Monroe county, Florida (14 March 2018).
Series: Spring Break 2018.

Most of my snake photographs are not in situ, that is of snakes posing naturally in their natural habitats. More often than not, whenever possible at least, I catch the snake, slap on my 60mm lens, and shoot very tight macro shots with the snake in one hand and my camera in the other. My main goal is to shoot close-up, tight facial profiles and to document the mid-range ventral and dorsal patterns. Every now and then, however, I do manage to remember to snag a naturally-posed shot (usually when I don’t think I can get my hands on the subject…)

Featured here is a Brown watersnake, Nerodia taxispilota, basking above a small canal line. The tight shot is up top, and the wider shot is down below. This is a classic basking position for this non-venomous species. Brown watersnakes prefer to bask in foliage hanging directly over water. When threatened, they just plop down into the water for a hasty retreat. Some folks even refer to this species as the “most arboreal” of Florida’s watersnake species. I certainly agree. In fact, if and when you hear stories about snakes falling into canoes and kayaks in Florida, odds are it was a Brown watersnake. They’re fairly predictable in this manner!

Can you spot the Brown basking below?

Nerodia taxispilota, 14 March 2018

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