Brown Water Snake & Catfish

A couple weeks ago, Candace & I were searching for snakes along the Contentnea Creek that meanders through Greene County. Coming up a little shorthanded we decided to walk down to a sandbar & look at the water. We both saw it at the same time. A brown water snake that looked to be in the middle of eating a catfish. After a little investigation we discovered the the fish was actually stuck a quarter of the way down the snake. In case some of you don't know, catfish have an external spine/thorn that sticks out of their pectoral and dorsal fins.

The thorns had cut a hole in both sides of the snake. {as you can tell on the bottom right of the photo} So I pulled the snake onto the sandbar and helped it release the fish. The fish had been in the snake long enough that it was starting to digest. It took the snake a few minutes to get re-adjusted before he slowly swam to other side of the creek. I've found a snake in the past, while fishing on this same creek, that had died due to trying to eat an extremely large fish.


Brown water snakes can reach lengths up to 60 inches or more. They are semi-aquatic, living in creeks, streams, ponds, lakes and rivers. They are found throughout the eastern part of the state and in most all of the southern states. They feed primarily on fish and will ambush or wait patiently for an unsuspecting meal to swim by.

These snakes are commonly mistaken for Water Moccasins or  more commonly known as "Cottonmouths" and for this, they are killed. These snakes are NON-Venomous. I love their colors & patterns. This particular snake was one of the largest I've ever personally seen.

We also discovered this rat snake or commonly called "chicken snake". Here are a couple photos.

Neil JerniganComment