Cottonmouth snakes are
poisonous and extremely aggressive. They get the name
cottonmouth because when they prepare to strike they open
their jaws wide, exposing the puffy white lining of their
mouths. Alligators only get aggressive during mating season,
but cottonmouths are in a constant state of PMS - they
not only will NOT run away from you, they will seek you
out and chase you down.
Most anyone would rather have an alligator
in their boat than a cottonmouth any day of the week. I
have heard a few snake-in-the-boat stories and they are
about equally divided between "we all jumped overboard" and "I
grabbed my gun and shot the boat full of holes trying to
kill the snake". You learn to not only keep an eye on things
moving on the water, but to perform a "snake check!" anytime
you pull up under a tree. Some snakes (in a fit of whimsy,
no doubt) like to drop from trees into boats to see how
fast they can empty the boat out.
I was riding up a canal with friends
one day, two airboats full of us. The other airboat
was ahead and to the left of my boat. Looking ahead of
us on the water I saw what might have been a tree branch
floating...but wait! It was floating across the canal against
As I watched, the "branch" sped up, raised
it's head fully out of the water, and with jaws agape - it
attacked the lead airboat!
was a BIG snake - it's body was about as big around as
my forearm and the mouth was stretched open as big as
my hand would spread. You could see the white of its
mouth standing out sharply from it's dark body, and it's
beady little eyes just blazed with malice!
boat being attacked was "porpoising" on the water (the
nose bouncing up and down rather than riding smoothly).
The boat and the snake converged upon each other, and
as the boat bounced up once more the snake struck! The
snake raised itself several feet out of the water as
it lunged with its mouth wide open ready to devour the
time the snake had tried to bite off more than he could
chew. As the snake was striking at full force,
the boat came down on its head. Bad news for the snake,
good news for all of us.
man driving my boat that day told how one time a cottonmouth
struck at his boat and accidentally got picked up by
the prop and flung into the bottom of the boat. His story
fell into the "abandon ship" category.)
Photo Credits :
Cottonmouth snake photos used with permission of Gene
Ott. For more information on snakes and frogs visit
his website at: http://www.snakesandfrogs.com/
Snake-Club Boys would like to submit: http://www.jbfishing.com/snakes/ for
factual information regarding Cottonmouth snakes.