Snakes at Donavan Lakes and at Bar-D

Like many of our Club members, I love nature and the creatures that come with that package...including snakes. My wife, Doris, loves seeing a good snake. Doris's interest in snakes was developed in her days on the farm in Weiner, Arkansas.

We have our share of snakes at the fishing clubs. However, 95% of the snakes that I see at the club lakes are harmless Nerodia (Natrix) water shakes. These banded, narrow-headed, long and slender snakes love to eat fish and they are not timid about it.

Many members comment to me about the... "snakes under the pier and coiled around my fish basket." I remind these fishermen that they would not have so many snakes at the pier if they would not temp the snakes with a basket of fish in the water. During the summer, if you put a fish basket in the will attract water snakes. Bring an ice chest and put each fish on ice in the chest. Not only will you have fewer snakes, you will have better tasting fish on the table.

I have included photos of a Nerodia water snake and a Cottonmouth (cottonmouth is the official common name, not water moccosin) along with a few tips on how to identify each type of snake.
The Cottonmouth is a pit viper and has a triangular head with fat jaws. This snake is more stocky, shorter and darker on top than the water snake.

Cottonmouths will coil up on land, open their mouth to show the "cotton mouth" and dare you to come on over. Water snakes will make every effort to leave the area.
Cottonmouths swim with their entire body on top of the water. Water snakes look like they are sinking...with only the head (nose) out of the water.
Nerodia water snakes are very common in most all ponds, lakes and swamps in the South. These nonpoisonous snakes feed on fish, frogs, crayfish, and most any thing that wiggles in the water. If you put your fish in a wire basket in the water below the pier, you will get to see lots of these will eventually slide into your basket. Don't get mad at the snake or at me if you lure these snakes to the piere with a basket full of shake bait. Put your fish on ice in an ice chest.

Water snakes mate in late April and May. If you have never seen a ball of big snakes in the day is coming. Oh yes...I love my snakes!
Nerodia water snake

Thomas H. Wilson, Manager
1714 Prier Drive
Marion, AL 36756

© 2001 Donavan Lakes Fishing Club