I photographed this Water Snake draped over a limb in the water while at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma.
Water snakes are reptiles and, like all reptiles, they rely on external sources of heat to regulate their body temperature. By draping themselves over limbs in the sun, they are able to absorb the heat they need to stay active and healthy. This behavior is known as basking, and is common among many species of reptiles.
In addition to regulating their temperature, draping themselves over limbs also provides water snakes with a better view of their surroundings. This helps them to detect potential predators, as well as prey, more easily. The limb also offers a stable perch that allows the snake to rest and conserve energy.
Finally, the coloration of water snakes often helps them to blend in with their surroundings. By draping themselves over limbs, they can use their coloring to blend in with the brown or gray of the limb and become more difficult to see. This provides an additional level of camouflage and protection from predators.
In summary, water snakes drape themselves over limbs in the water for thermoregulation, to have a better view of their surroundings, to conserve energy and for better camouflage.
I spotted this Watersnake while walking the Sandtown Trail which borders the Arkansas River. I was hand-holding my camera.
- Camera: Fujifilm X-T3
- Lens: Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS II USM (attached with a Fringer EF-FX Pro)
- Location: Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge (Oklahoma)
- Date and Time Taken: May 31, 2020 (08:31:21 A.M.)
- Aperture Priority
- Aperture: f8.0
- Shutter speed: 1/1250 sec. (as determined by the camera)
- ISO: 1250
- White Balance: Auto
- Metering Mode: Multi
- Exposure Compensation: -0.33 EV
- Back-button Focus
- Single Point Focus
- Focal Length: 400 mm
- Processed With Luminar 4