As I traversed the auto tour road at Oklahoma’s Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge yesterday, I had a thrilling encounter with one of the refuge’s most infamous residents – the Water Moccasin. This stout, venomous snake was in the process of slithering across the road, emerging from the murky waters that border the south side and making its way towards Sally Jones Lake on the north side.
Despite their fearsome reputation, Water Moccasins are actually quite reclusive and will usually slip away into the brush rather than confront a human. However, I had to be cautious as I stepped out of my pickup to get a closer look. With camera in hand, I kept a safe distance while admiring the snake’s distinctive features.
Water Moccasins, also known as cottonmouths, get their name from the white, cotton-like lining of their mouth which they display when threatened. Their stocky bodies are covered in dark, mottled scales ranging from brown to black. This provides them with excellent camouflage in the swamps and marshes they inhabit.
As avid swimmers, Water Moccasins are extremely well-adapted to aquatic environments. They can remain submerged for up to an hour and swim with impressive speed. While their venom is highly potent and can be fatal, they are not usually aggressive towards humans unless provoked.
It was fascinating to observe this stealthy serpent in its natural surroundings. With patience and caution, wildlife photographers can capture unique images of these elusive creatures. However, it’s critical to keep a safe distance and avoid disturbing them. After snapping a few photos, I gave the moccasin a wide berth as it disappeared into the brush near the lake. Just another day on the refuge!
- Camera: Canon EOS R5
- Lens: RF100-500 mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM
- Location: Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge (Oklahoma)
- Date and Time Taken: August 2, 2022 (07:43 A. M.)
- Exposure Mode: Manual
- Aperture: f8
- Shutter speed: 1/500
- ISO: 1600 (Auto)
- Exposure Compensation: +1 EV
- Focal Length: 500 mm