Florida Snake Videos
In Florida, the Copperhead is Found Only in Parts of Extreme North Florida
Below you'll find some excellent snake videos, each of which can teach something useful.
How to Avoid Snakebite
One concern about Florida that many people have is snakes. If you've ever walked through knee-high grass or
palmettos, in and around creek banks, cypress swamps, or marshes you've probably gotten that uneasy feeling that
there could be a venomous snake lurking nearby ready to bite.
The first rule of avoiding snake bite is "Don't mess with snakes."
Aside from professionals who must work with snakes
for one reason or another, messing with venomous snakes is seldom a good idea.
A good friend--an emergency room physician--told me that half the snake-bite cases
he sees involves young men drinking alcohol and messing with a snake. Just don't mess with
any snake, and you've probably cut your risk of snakebite at least in half.
In this National Geographic video from their official YouTube channel,
a man alone in the wilds decides it would be a good idea to mess with an Eastern
Diamondback Rattlesnake. He lived to regret that decision.
Protection Against Snakebite
For off-trail wandering, for years I've worn light-weight snake gaiters, by Turtleskin.
They provide protection against briars and brambles as well as snakes.
Use them whenever you'd use gaiters anyway, except these have the added benefit of being snake-proof--at
least that's what the manufacturer says, and I believe them.
Although the odds are no snake will ever try to
sink its fangs into my gaiters, the added peace of mind I feel when walking through swamp, brush, or palmettos
is worth every cent I spent for them.
The picture above shows my gaiters and how they fit.
Here's a Turtleskin video about the gaiters and their strength.
Water Moccasin Characteristics
Here's an informative video by Florida film-maker Jack Dambach, who goes by the name of Lone Traveller.
To see more of his films, be sure to check out his blog at LoneTraveller.com. Jack
gets some great footage of wild things in Florida, including some good snake videos. Here, he presents us with a close-up look at a water
The water moccasin is found throughout Florida, and has earned itself the nickname "cottonmouth," owing
to its habit of opening its mouth widely when threatened, revealing the extremely white interior lining.
This gesture is defensive in nature, and serves to protect the head by making it more difficult to attack.
This video clearly displays the mouth-opening behavior of a decent size water moccasin.
As you see in the video, water moccasins sometimes vibrate their tails when threatened.
When this vibration takes place in dry leaves
it creates a warning sound. This very same warning sound once prevented me from walking right over a moccasin in
a cornfield by a swamp, west of Tallahassee.
Notice that the cottonmouth is a rather thick, stocky snake. Some non-venomous water snakes closely resemble moccasins in that
they are also dark, thick, and stocky.
Okay, Jack. Be careful. We want you around to do more snake videos. A snake can strike up to two-thirds of its length.
Maybe more if it's highly motivated. Don't get too close.
Exctracting Snake Venom -- Somebody's Gotta Do It.
Snake venom has valuable pharmaceutical uses. But before it can be used, it must be extracted. Folks
whose job it is to extract snake venom are something special. Imagine waking up in the morning knowing
that today you will be handling and milking dozens of venomous snakes.
Not too long ago, I was invited by a doctor friend of mine to get a first-hand look at Medtoxin
Venom Laboratories near DeLand where the director, Carl Barden, milks snakes for a living.
Carl had hundreds of venomous snakes housed in his lab--rattlesnakes, water moccasins, black mambas, a
king cobra, and much more. We watched as he extracted the venom from a variety of species.
Now, let me tell you--Carl is no wacked-out snake dude. He's a level-headed professional
who supplies snake venom for research purposes. Let's face it. Somebody has
to do it. I'm glad it's him, and not me.
Carl was inspired by the famous Bill Haast, who ran the Miami Serpentarium from 1947 to 1985.
This video from the Daytona Beach News-Journal highlights the work of Carl and his assistant
Just to add to the snake videos, here's a close-up shot of a pit viper's head. Pit vipers
include rattlesnakes, water moccasins, and copperheads. This happens
to be an Eastern diamondback rattlesnake and not a water moccasin, but the heat sensing pit is the same
on both species.
Also, notice the ellipitical pupil. Pit vipers have elliptical pupils as opposed to round pupils.
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake Head -- Close Up