A very curious cottonmouth

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Porter
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A very curious cottonmouth

Post by Porter »

I drifted upon this as I was surfing the tube down the rabbit hole on my boredom… I had to share it.

Look at how beautiful this footage is! This very well may be The single best Snake clip I’ve ever seen. The lighting, the surreal aspect of the snake floating on a flat calm surface as if it were traveling across a solid mirror-like Terrain. The smooth filming from traveling in a boat… Working the multi-angle viewpoint smooth with no shake…And just the steady calm vibe. The color of the water and how you can’t see anything below the snake ... shape/object relation balance within each frame ..The random natural reaction of the photographer and animal encountering each other… and how it allows the viewer to experience it for themselves, with no Narration guiding or influencing a specific reaction or thought process… a short little drama plays out within a quick time frame.. Insitu Aspect…I seriously cannot think of a single shot from a reptile Video that matches this.. Pristine videography in all aspects.
Awesome :thumb:



If you’re not a Regular YouTube viewer, make sure to click the HD button for High resolution setting, the clear footage otherwise it’ll look blurry. Watch this through the YouTube app on your television if you can!

Jimi
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Re: A very curious cottonmouth

Post by Jimi »

Yeah that's pretty sweet. I appreciate that the boater didn't feel the need to deliver a savage paddle-chop (or five, or seventeen) to the animal. And that s(he) didn't feel the need to say anything - I love the quiet chill vibe too. The boater is obviously comfortable in the element, and among the other inhabitants of the element. Very mature, very grounded.

Porter I take it you're a Cali resident, perhaps native. You may have never floated through cotton country (I highly recommend this!!!), and encountered them in the wild. That preternatural buoyancy is a huge diagnostic aid, even from a very long distance. If you do such a float in prime-time you will see many animals, often including a diversity of harmless (though twitchy, stinky, bitey, pukey) natricines. When aswim, they mostly struggle just to keep their face above water, when they even choose to remain on the surface.

cheers

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Porter
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Re: A very curious cottonmouth

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Jimi wrote:
May 5th, 2021, 7:25 am
Yeah that's pretty sweet. I appreciate that the boater didn't feel the need to deliver a savage paddle-chop (or five, or seventeen) to the animal. And that s(he) didn't feel the need to say anything - I love the quiet chill vibe too. The boater is obviously comfortable in the element, and among the other inhabitants of the element. Very mature, very grounded.

Porter I take it you're a Cali resident, perhaps native. You may have never floated through cotton country (I highly recommend this!!!), and encountered them in the wild. That preternatural buoyancy is a huge diagnostic aid, even from a very long distance. If you do such a float in prime-time you will see many animals, often including a diversity of harmless (though twitchy, stinky, bitey, pukey) natricines. When aswim, they mostly struggle just to keep their face above water, when they even choose to remain on the surface.

cheers
Oh man, I would love to! Yep, California native. I did some filming/observing at a little pond I found back in 2011 that was being eradicated of invasive nerodia sipedon. First and only watersnakes I've seen so far. Like you pointed out, their aquatic mobility is periscoping at best. The cotton's ability to travel the surface of the water like that, is what creates that unique dream-like appearance. Eventually, I want to do some more herping trips outside of CA. So far, I've only herped Washington (while covering an employees vacation time), Ohio (while visiting a girl), Nevada (briefly while herping around Death Valley), Oregon (when I was a kid on a family roadtrip), and a couple flips at a fuel station in Arizona during my class A training. What would you say is the best state to visit for an encounter like this?

Here's that video from 2011. Made with a collection of clips from a few separate visits to the, ol' mud hole:





Here's a DSLR shot I got of a fitchi swimming away that displays a little more surface buoyancy than the nerodia, while in motion... I'm pretty sure I've never seen a garter able to hold a similar above-water periscope like that moccasin!
Thamnophis > nerodia

Imagevalley-garter-swim2_30849742451_o by The Singing Frog, on Flickr

Jimi
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Re: A very curious cottonmouth

Post by Jimi »

What would you say is the best state to visit for an encounter like this?
I highly recommend getting out to the southeast. Ideal timing varies a little bit based on what you want to see and how you want to help (flip, dip-net, stalk, paddle, snorkel, cruise etc). Spring (~mid March - ~mid May) is best for field herping, like most everywhere, but fall (~mid Sept-~early Oct) can be good for some stuff, especially for cruising. But as for where, personally I favor Georgia. It's quite bio-diverse (in herps and many other plant & animal groups), has probably the most diversity of habitats, has some quiet areas, but also is a fairly gentle introduction to the Deep South.

The premier paddle in Georgia is in the Okefenokee Swamp NWR but several of the medium and large rivers flowing into the Atlantic provide some epic paddles (the Altamaha comes immediately to mind - it also has some great sandhills alongside). https://garivers.org/water-trails-and-p ... ter-trail/ You can do guided tours, or just rent.

My only caution would be to learn how to get along with (or avoid enticing) alligators. (This is what a guide can help with.) They can be a genuine hazard. But they're also really neat, and they make you feel, uh, interesting when you're among them and otherwise alone. They can reach some staggering densities - it really needs to be seen to be believed. And a huge bull gator is like nothing else in North America. Nothing else.

Anyway - Jeff is a Louisiana resident so he can chime in with his own suggestions and experiences.

cheers

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Porter
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Re: A very curious cottonmouth

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Thanks for the advice! I don’t think I will be able to do a trip like that unless I’m accompanied with another Herper. It sounds expensive :lol: same goes for AZ. (That’s first on the list as far as out-a-state trips go). Last year I had money saved up and totally prepared for a solo AZ trip. Of course that’s the year the coronavirus hits and they get least amount of rain recorded in history 😑 🤷🏻‍♂️ I think my main agenda for cotton country would be to see as many species as possible, considering I probably will only be able to afford to go out there once.

The only thing I can think of that comes to mind as an absolute must would be a crayfish snake. That’s got to be the most amazing Snake of all time for me. I think because, when I was a kid, I remember trying to feed soft baby crawdads to gartersnakes... to see if they would eat them from a feeding bowl. I even put the crawdads in with minnows and worms. Somehow they knew not to even try to eat one. Even though it was soft shelled and small. So, I always had the understanding that the crawdad isn’t a prey item for an aquatic Snake. Then when I found out that there’s an actual “crayfish snake“ that specializes in eating crayfish... there was just something mind blowing about that. So wherever I go, I definitely want to be in range of one of those.


As far as any gators or crocs go… I’ll most likely have the set up I’m using right now. Which is an iPhone attached to a tripod. So I wouldn’t want to be out with a bunch of big ones that I can’t get close to..lol I definitely would want to film one! I’ve seen some videos where they find baby gators in ditches on the side of the road. That would be the ideal situation for me so I could pick up a little baby and get up close footage of it with the macro lens :mrgreen: There was a time when swimming Amongst them may have been appealing to me... that time has since expired 💁🏻‍♂️🤣

Jimi
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Re: A very curious cottonmouth

Post by Jimi »

The only thing I can think of that comes to mind as an absolute must would be a crayfish snake.
Regina are easy to cruise in a lot of places. They - along with waters, muds, cottons, etc - like rain. Rain sucks for cruising many snakes, even in the green & wet SE USA, but it's good for the aquatic & semiaquatic stuff.
I think my main agenda for cotton country would be to see as many species as possible
Then I think mid May to early June would be ideal. Something like fly to JAX, rent a car & run out to Osceola NF, get a cheap motel in Lake City, stay for a week and just pound it. Bring waders and a dip net and some plastic tubs (to look at aquatic stuff you caught) if you can. Treat your outer clothes & hat with permethrin before you head over (I like the soak method - https://sectionhiker.com/permethrin-soak-method-guide/). You'll see gators and turtles and loads of amphibians. Also snakes of course, and a few kinds of lizards. Morning ditch & woods walks and cruising, midday scout or nap, late afternoon and evening cruising, no need to stay out ugly-late. Quit around 11 PM. Also no need to get up ugly-early. All quite civilized except for the damn bugs, which you will mostly beat with the permethrin, and of course something else for your skin (DEET or whatever you like).

I'm telling you man, it's worth doing. Possibly better than AZ - way more "completely different" for a CA herper. At least while this megadrought is still crushing us, I say "go with the flow" and hit the east. AZ can wait, and probably ought to. Some guys report no drop in AZ success, but that is not my experience or that of most folks I know.

If you had to drive - if you had way more time than money - you could do very well in East Texas or Louisiana (and save about 800 miles of drive each way). Same basic time frame, or maybe pull it in a few weeks - say any time in May.

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Re: A very curious cottonmouth

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Speaking of alligators... 🛶🐊


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Re: A very curious cottonmouth

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Thanks again Jimi :beer: Yeah, I definitely would want a pal to accompany me for a trip like that. My original strategy for AZ was to take someone so we could take turns sleeping while cruising. An hour or two of sleep can do wonders for a quick regen of energy. I just gotta find someone crazy as me to go gung hoe like that :lol: But yeah, it's not uncommon for me to herp all morning, get a room at 3pm... up at 6pm...cruised til 3am...then back to the hotel and sleep til 6 or 7am.

Only problem with that is the energy drinks keep you from falling asleep :crazyeyes:

Jimi
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Re: A very curious cottonmouth

Post by Jimi »

Jesus that sounds awful!!! Ha ha ha yeah but really. Awful!

The only place I know that's truly worth that is west Texas. Even there though, it's more like just go full nocturnal. Maybe a spot of dawn cut-walking, but otherwise sleep all damn day.

I think part of it is, I don't cruise all that much any more - I like walking better. Also - I don't help much in the worst of summer. Prime time is the right time!

Anyway - to each their own. Maybe we can discuss it more down the road.

cheers

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Porter
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Re: A very curious cottonmouth

Post by Porter »

It’s only not fun when you don’t find anything :lol:

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Kelly Mc
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Re: A very curious cottonmouth

Post by Kelly Mc »

Porter wrote:
May 23rd, 2021, 9:43 pm
Speaking of alligators... 🛶🐊


The brightly marked oar paddles dont seem like a good thing. Not that the gator wouldnt have charged anyway but just sayin.

Jimi
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Re: A very curious cottonmouth

Post by Jimi »

I just watched the video. Didn't seem like a "charge" to me. Aside - other than nest-attending females, who 100% absolutely DO CHARGE intruders - do gators really "charge"? A charge is a sassy bluff. Gators (other than the relatively small females stuck guarding a nest on land, out of their comfy element) either flee through or into the water, easily, or they sneak up and eat your ass. Or they are habituated because some fool has been feeding them, and they bob right up to you. Those are scary...

I think that's just a typical smallish "teen" gator who was surprised in tight quarters (where they live for a few years trying to avoid the big gators, who will eat them), hauling ass for the main channel. Any fleeing animal will run you over to get to safety, if you're between it and safety.

Porter you'll see fleeing little "teen" (<5-6') gators by the truckload if you walk large ditches. Both ones basking on land (not startling at all when they flee - they tend to see you first, way before you're on them) and also ones hanging out in the water. Those are the ones that startle you - they either can't see as far, or feel more secure and pay less attention, or feel more secure and have a much closer approach distance before fleeing - but whatever the mechanism, they erupt out of still silence with a big splash and a rocketing-away. Always makes me jump.

cheers

Jimi
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Re: A very curious cottonmouth

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Oh yeah Porter you said something earlier - perhaps in jest, perhaps not - that bears a response. Something about grabbing a baby for photos. Just don't. Mama - the moms guard their broods for about 2 years, it's real common to see a female with 2 distinct size classes of little ones (this year's and last year's) all around her - she won't thank you for it. And it's surely illegal in every state where they occur, because it's stupid and dangerous and just disrespectful of the wildlife and all the other people who own them too.

Anyway - not to bust balls. But this is a public forum, who knows what sorts of impressionable kids etc are reading this, yada yada yada.

The babies are not super cryptic, either behaviorally or by virtue of camo. They lounge all around, both in the water and also basking on flopped-over cattails or emergent sticks / logs. Mama is always not far away, and the babies seem to know it. If you do scare them, they'll start chirping to get her over there. And she will come to their call, and she won't be happy with you.

cheers

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Re: A very curious cottonmouth

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Speaking of alligators… 🎣🐊


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Porter
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Re: A very curious cottonmouth

Post by Porter »

Jimi wrote:
May 26th, 2021, 6:49 am
Oh yeah Porter you said something earlier - perhaps in jest, perhaps not - that bears a response. Something about grabbing a baby for photos. Just don't. Mama - the moms guard their broods for about 2 years, it's real common to see a female with 2 distinct size classes of little ones (this year's and last year's) all around her - she won't thank you for it. And it's surely illegal in every state where they occur, because it's stupid and dangerous and just disrespectful of the wildlife and all the other people who own them too.

Anyway - not to bust balls. But this is a public forum, who knows what sorts of impressionable kids etc are reading this, yada yada yada.

The babies are not super cryptic, either behaviorally or by virtue of camo. They lounge all around, both in the water and also basking on flopped-over cattails or emergent sticks / logs. Mama is always not far away, and the babies seem to know it. If you do scare them, they'll start chirping to get her over there. And she will come to their call, and she won't be happy with you.

cheers
No, I glad you mentioned that because I most definitely wanted to pick up and film a baby gator :lol: I knew about the danger of chirping and protecting mamas (since childhood). I was tired at the time I responded, and it slipped my mind that they were/probably were illegal to touch... But at the time I wrote that, I was definitely thinking it was ok to pick one up and wanted to! Lol That would be the only way to get good artistic close up footage with an iPhone/macro. Still, finding a baby or small one in a ditch would be the way-to-go for me. And I mean a shallow ditch so I can get upclose in situ



I've seen a few different baby alligator encounter in roadside ditches. And what I'm referring to, is a ditch somewhere around the size frame of 4 feet wide, 2 feet shallow. This is the only video I can reference that I was able to look up. I've watched a lot of Noah's vids and he pops up in my feed from time to time when I watch Youtube on the TV app. Him and Lou. So, anytime I go on Youtube for music or skateboarding, I'll see a new vid there for Lou or NKF and few others. That's how I ended up seeing the cotton vid. So, the other baby gator vids I'm thinking of... I have no idea who they are. It's really just random. Lou and Noah have a high view count and follower count. So, they pop up in my feed more frequently



I think Noah is a herptologist of some kind..not sure. But I've heard him taking about having permits for certain species. He's legal and usually states that in his content

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Kelly Mc
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Re: A very curious cottonmouth

Post by Kelly Mc »

I think the cottonmouth was momentarily percieving it as a branch mass or terra form as perhaps newly stirred out of a basky nap. It was a Nope on further inquiry of serpent.

How refreshing the exchange of neurons between two on tranquil waters.

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Porter
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Re: A very curious cottonmouth

Post by Porter »

Kelly Mc wrote:
August 2nd, 2021, 7:25 am
I think the cottonmouth was momentarily percieving it as a branch mass or terra form as perhaps newly stirred out of a basky nap. It was a Nope on further inquiry of serpent
I agree
Kelly Mc wrote:
August 2nd, 2021, 7:25 am
How refreshing the exchange of neurons between two on tranquil waters.
Lol well said! My thoughts exactly. The tranquility is the quality of the footage

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