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Snakes in the Water by Jack

“Interesting day on the creek” was a popular discussion topic on the Trout Unlimited Open Forum recently. There were stories about anglers seeing all sorts of interesting things including deer, geese, muskrats, beaver, turkeys, ospreys, and even “bears and bear poop on the trails”. One angler was fishing Elk Creek near Lynchburg, Tennessee when a large water snake came right at him, brushing his waders. He did a quick assessment and saw that the snake was not venomous.

My Pine Creek stream notes for May 24, 2019 say that we saw four snakes in the water, three Northern Water Snakes and a Queen Snake, all at the Rooster Tail Hole. This is a picture of the Queen Snake that I took because I didn’t know what it was.

This picture of a Northern Water Snake was taken at Pine Creek in 2015. It might look dangerous, but it’s not venomous. It is often killed by people who think it is a water moccasin, which does not appear farther north than extreme southern Virginia. The Queen Snake is also categorized as a water snake and is a good swimmer. It will often drop into the water for safety when disturbed.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is a good sorce of information like that. It has information on all of the native snakes in the Commonwealth at Snakes and how to identify the three venomous snakes in Pennsylvania at Venomous. The PFBC has juisdiction over reptiles and amphibians in Pennsylvania and works with partners to protect them. Native reptile and amphibian species include salamanders, snakes, frogs, toads, turtles and lizards.

Great stuff Jack, thanks for this informative article.

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