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Old 05-25-2010, 07:03 AM   #1
hancoveguy
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Default water snake?

Sunday afternoon the kids were goofing around with an inflatable rowboat at the beach and we noticed a snake following them in. We managed to spook it but now my wife won't go back in the water.
Anyway, we were trying to figure out what kind of snake it was. Tried to look it up but nothing really seemed to match.

Any thoughts-
about 3 feet long. Mostly brown. Smallish head. Swam with its head above water and when we spooked it it went under for a bit but resurfaced a few feet over. This snake was not "more afraid of us than we were of it". It only spooked with the help of an oar...

Wish I had more info for you but thats all we got.

HCG
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Old 05-25-2010, 07:13 AM   #2
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Default NH Water Snake

I think what you encountered might be a Northern water snake, common in NH waters. If you go to this website, there are a few different pictures of it.

http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/Wild...ater_snake.htm

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Old 05-25-2010, 07:33 AM   #3
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I think that may have been it. Anyone know if they are aggressive, if they bite, I don't think they are poisonous but I doubt I would want to be bitten by one.
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Old 05-25-2010, 10:01 AM   #4
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Northern Water Snakes are not poisonous, but will defend themselves viciously when threatened (bite, poop, expel musk). They can get big (I've seen them as big around as my forearm and four feet long), and they look a little menacing when swimming, but are important to the food chain -- they eat small fish, worms, frogs, leeches, salamanders, young turtles, small mammals, etc.
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Old 05-25-2010, 03:25 PM   #5
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When we used to be in Moltonborough we had seen seen a couple of similiar water snakes. This was about 6 years ago. Really not comfortable to go swimming in certain areas after seeing one surface.
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Old 05-26-2010, 11:05 AM   #6
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I'd be more concerned with things like Duck Itch and the impact of the poop generated by the growing Canada Goose population than I would with water snakes. E coli and fecal coliform are more dangerous than any fish, snake, turtle or bird.
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Old 05-27-2010, 05:57 AM   #7
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Default No Moccasin Snakes Here (A.K.A. Cottonmouth)...

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I'd be more concerned with things like Duck Itch and the impact of the poop generated by the growing Canada Goose population than I would with water snakes. E coli and fecal coliform are more dangerous than any fish, snake, turtle or bird.
While New England is free of the dreaded Moccasin/Cottonmouth, I had occasion to have an "unidentified snake" swim by fully submerged in Central Florida. (Quite a sobering sight, as that particular area does have Moccasins) .

Reading up on the "Northern Water Snake", I found a Massachusetts site with some interesting observations as to its reported aggression and wintering habits. It appears that where there are otters, muskrats and beavers, expect to see the Northern Water Snake:

Excerpts:

Quote:
"Commonly described as 'aggressive', I contend that northern water snakes cannot be considered any more aggressive than chipmunks or bluebirds...

"With a large head, fairly massive jaw musculature, and a mouth filled with six rows of sharp, recurved teeth, water snakes can deliver an impressive defensive strike but only to those who lay hands upon them. And this isn't even true all of the time. I've been able slowly to approach some northern water snakes, carefully reach my open hands beneath their bodies, and lift them into the air,



...all without the snake becoming agitated or me becoming the recipient of a surprisingly strong bite. Sometimes, however, this doesn't work! Rather, enjoy water snakes from a short distance, watching how they go about their daily activities.

"Throughout the entire Connecticut River watershed, the northern water snake is the most common large snake to be found. The maximum total length is just under four feet, though many outdoors-people claim (as they do with fish) that they've seen plenty bigger. Water snakes have massive bodies, much thicker than most snakes, and when disturbed can take in air, inflate their one, long lung, and appear even thicker than normal...Occasionally water snakes, finding themselves caught in the current, may try to take refuge at any convenient dry place - a floating log, a bridge abutment, an arching tree trunk or a boat anchored to the bottom.

"To some people, the vision of a large, dark snake heading straight for them is a bit disconcerting, to say the least.
For the rest of us, it is a lucky opportunity to observe one of the river's more illustrious inhabitants.

"Water snakes are closely related to the most abundant and commonly seen snake in the Connecticut River watershed the eastern garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis)...As many as fifty or more may be born to the largest females, but normally 10 to fifteen 6- to 8-inch babies emerge from the female inside small, clear membranes...

"There are reports of water snake overwintering inside wells where they spend the majority of the cold weather submerged, or mostly so.

"If this is true then it is possible that water snake might be able to winter inside bank dens made by beavers, muskrats, otters, or even crayfish. Virtually nothing is known of their winter behavior and it would be intriguing to understand just what it is they are doing.
Much more on Northern Water Snakes at:
http://www.bio.umass.edu/biology/con.../wtrsnake.html

(I'm certain the author's use of "wells" are not directed to the usual drilled wells of recent times).

And...speaking of the growing Canada Goose population, you can get quite a view of Wolfeboro's "Back Bay" from Bradley's Hardware. About 30 Canada Geese could be seen—some were feeding on spacious lawns. (That's about triple my unofficial count from last year). Acres of lush lawns can be seen to assist in grazing and nest-building.
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Old 05-27-2010, 07:10 PM   #8
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Default Omigosh!!

So that's what it was!! A (very scarily) long time ago when I was a teenager a bunch of us were swimming in a small pond in NH when a good sized snake swam right in among us...didn't try to attack anyone...and I exited the scene right away! It looked just like that--brown and cream color, and long! Thanks for the picture, APS.

Now I, too, live in Cottonmouth/ Copperhead/Rattlesnake country...but...no problem!! A pool ,of which I can see the sides and bottom, works for me!! They can also have any golf balls that go into the ditch or woods, too...I'm generous!!
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Old 05-28-2010, 06:47 AM   #9
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I have never seen a snake in the lake. I did see an eel once though. I hope I never see either again! That would be just fine with me!!!!
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Old 05-28-2010, 07:18 AM   #10
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We grew up calling them water adders, harmless but quite impressive. Probably just a local name. When spooked with young the mother will transport them in her mouth.
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Old 05-28-2010, 07:56 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Natt View Post
We grew up calling them water adders, harmless but quite impressive. Probably just a local name. When spooked with young the mother will transport them in her mouth.
There is a cove on Merrymeeting called "Adder Hole" for that reason. But in 40+ years on the lake, I've only seen a snake twice, and very briefly each time.
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Old 05-28-2010, 09:32 AM   #12
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We have garters near the dock, and you can catch them sunning themselves in the warm weather.

I had a water snake pop out from under the dock once while I was snorkeling around it -- startling to say the least.

I think the thing that spooked me most was the eel that lives in the between the two hulls of the Lady of the Lake wreck. I knew it was in there, somewhere, and was finning up and down the length of the wreck, poking my flashlight down into the gap and peeing in. I got to one section, pointed the light in, and there were these two big glowing eyes looking back at me. Although I was looking for it, I wasn't EXPECTING it...and neither was he/she, who then darted out.
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Old 05-28-2010, 09:53 AM   #13
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Here's an eel my son caught one night off our dock.......and, to stay on the Water Snake topic, my brother-in-law had one get quite aggressive with him in our cove last summer. This one was in the bank so more out of the water than in it which is probably why it was more aggressive.....
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Old 05-28-2010, 09:00 PM   #14
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Default Watersnake on Swim Platform

A couple of years ago we had a watersnake on the swim platform of our boat tied up at the dock. It was 3-4 feet long and definitely got our attention. I used a very long branch to coax it back into the water. It seemed pretty happy to stay where it was but eventually swam away. I don't mention that experience to guests!
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Old 05-29-2010, 06:07 AM   #15
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Fishing the shores of little pond in Sandwich one sunny morning I counted six water snakes in the 3+ foot range coiled up sunning themselves on the bank near the road. They became very defensive as I walked past with hisses and lunges. Have spotted them there several times. Also have seen them in Lilly Pond over by the airport. Never spotted them in Lake Winni. and would never mention it to my wife if I did.
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