Blue-eyed Water Snake

(UPDATE:  I have made corrections to my original post below to correct my ID.  Experts have determined these photos are indeed a water snake but not a Cottonmouth as I originally ID’d.  The information on the blue eyes is still true to fact.  It is my intent to always provide correct ID’s and facts through my research before posting.  I appreciate any comments and corrections to my posts.  Thank you William!)


There are more than alligators lurking in Florida’s swamps and wetlands.

Everywhere I walk, I am diligent in paying attention on where I am stepping along my path.

Oh boy, was I ever so thankful I saw this water snake curled up beneath a clump of green before a few more steps.

I am not fond of snakes.  Period.


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Water Snake


I took some close-ups with my long lens 70-200mm with a 1.7x teleconverter.  I was safe!


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Water Snake Close-up


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Water Snake Close-up


Some movement began as I kept looking for the water snake’s head.

And then it emerged.


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Water snake with blue eyes


Blue eyes??  I had to google this myself.

A snake with blue eyes is getting ready to shed. This eye color change occurs as a result of skin loosening and fluid building up between the old and new skin layers. At the peak of this transformation, the snake’s eyes take on a milky blue or blue-gray color for 2-4 days.  At this time, their vision is blurry.  It should be shedding its skin in another week or so.


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Water snake with blue eyes, a sign it is preparing to shed its skin


I felt I was now agitating the water snake so I backed away to leave.  As I moved, it slithered down the grassy embankment and disappeared.

(Photos taken at Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park)



57 thoughts on “Blue-eyed Water Snake

  1. Wow! Great pictures, and rather scary. I remember taking some family pictures in front of a tree at our house last summer and after taking the pictures we saw a huge black rat snake curled up in the tree right behind us. While it was a ‘wow/eeeuuuww moment, at least we knew it wasn’t poisonous.

    • Thanks Susan, yes scary too, but I stayed back. I didn’t get into the whole story, but this cottonmouth was actually along the end of the parking lot of the park, and only five feet from a parked car. 😲

    • Thank you, John, I am! Saw a raccoon today on my dirt trail, thought, hmmmm…..but he took off and was gone so I felt better to continue. I did not know about the blue eye occurrence before shedding, it’s fascinating!

      • Raccoons are nasty! I had a couple snakes, the Indigo is the snake that was shedding, I told my buddy to be careful handling it and – BAMO! He got bit! 😂

  2. Good sighting, a reminder to be alert when you venture out in the great outdoors. Iit can get you some outstanding shots or it can be deadly. I appreciated seeing the blue eyes.

  3. Please be careful in the Florida swamps, any of them! Never leave trails to explore on your own.
    You were fortunate to see the snake before you could have stepped on it. Then for sure, you’d have been bitten!

    • I am being very careful, HJ, promise. I do not leave trails. Would you believe this snake was on the end of the park’s parking lot, five feet from a car? 😲 I went over there to look for a gator I had seen before down in the waters. I was glad the snake slithered down and away, I was worried about the car owner’s returning to their car and not seeing it, what if they had a small child or dog too?

    • Awwww……come on. I’m sure you’ve ventured all over where there’s rattlesnakes! 😉 I will say I am looking even more down at the ground for sure! I’ll probably run into a tree or bench, lol.

      • Well, yeah, I lived in rattlesnake country in the Sierras and in Utah, but at least the things give you some warning, but I’m still not fond of them. But please, don’t run into any trees or other solid objects.

  4. Beautiful shots and good to use caution. I hate to ruin the story a little though: that is actually not a Cottonmouth. It is a Florida Green Watersnake, Nerodia floridana. It is quite similar being heavy-bodied, brown and with roughly keeled scales. If he weren’t about to shed you could see his round pupil better, so I don’t fault you. But again, great photos and a wonderful nature journal. I couldn’t tell you how many birds I’ve misidentified in my blogs! William — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104 The Message

    • Hi William, just saw your email and then this comment! I sent you the Florida link cottonmouth vs watersnake comparison chart I used for my ID. Appreciate your help in IDing this!

    • Thank you, Irene! Well, I am a bit embarrassed, it has been confirmed by experts that although it is a water snake, it is not a cottonmouth. I’m going to be amending this post in a few minutes to correct my ID! But most definitely, I am still glad I didn’t step near/on it AND got to photograph those blue eyes for the 2-4 days they’re like that just before shedding. 🙂

    • Me too, Tanja! I am not fond of snakes either. So you know and I’m now finally catching on comments and blogs, this snake I misidentified; it is a water snake, but experts that have viewed the photo have agreed it wasn’t a cottonmouth. I’m getting ready to update this post to correct the ID and embarrassingly beg for forgiveness. 🙂

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