Sunbathing Snakes at Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge

During a visit to the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma in mid-April, I had an exciting wildlife encounter. As I drove along the auto tour road weaving through the refuge, I spotted an unusual sight in the water – three large snakes coiled together on a clump of grass, sunning themselves.

Three Watersnakes Sunning
Three Watersnakes Sunning

I quickly pulled over and was able to get a photo of the trio before they slithered away. After examining the picture more closely, I identified them as Diamondback Watersnakes, a species commonly found in the wetland habitats that this refuge protects.

The Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge, located at the confluence of the Arkansas and Canadian rivers, is a haven for all sorts of watersnakes and other semi-aquatic snake species. Its varied wetlands, river environments, oxbow lakes, and reservoir areas provide the perfect conditions for these reptiles.

In addition to the Diamondback Watersnake I observed, some of the other watersnake species likely to be found within the refuge boundaries include the Northern Watersnake, Plain-bellied Watersnake, and Broad-banded Watersnake. These snakes are well-adapted to the freshwater ecosystems of rivers, streams, marshes and lakeshores that Sequoyah protects.

My snake sighting was definitely one of the highlights of my visit to this wildlife oasis in eastern Oklahoma. Seeing three of these fascinating watersnakes basking together in the sun was an unforgettable experience and a great example of the incredible biodiversity found at Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge. I can’t wait to revisit and see what other wildlife surprises may be in store!