Swimming Rattlesnake Terrifies Family In Boat In North Carolina

Screen Shot 2018-07-25 at 9.30.04 PM.pngI have done a fair amount of hiking in rattlesnake areas including my recent hike in the Cleveland National Forest.  However, the video of a rattler swimming toward a family in a boat is still unnerving and surprising.  Wayne Robbins films the aquatic snake in Fontana Lake, North Carolina.

The snake made it to the boat to the obvious distress of the family:


The California Department of Fish and Wildlife warns hikers simply “Rattlesnakes can swim.” Apparently, timber rattlesnakes are adept at surface swimming.

There are videos of swimming rattlers in lakes as well as the ocean . . . just one more worrisome element to swimming in the wild.

22 thoughts on “Swimming Rattlesnake Terrifies Family In Boat In North Carolina”

  1. Actually in Idaho about 5 weeks ago, a Canadian Gray Wolf charged two Forest Service employees who were only armed with bear spray. The wolf got close enough to them to get a faceful of spray. Immediately upon getting sprayed with bear spray, the wolf began to howl. Those 2 employees immediately had the pack surround them. They managed to walk out of there back to back with linked arms utilizing the bear spray, but don’t think that wolves won’t go after people. They will. There has been a few of these encounters.

    1. I’ve noticed an uptick recently.

      Wolves who are hunted are terrified of people. I don’t support fur hunting, but I also believe that large predators should have a healthy wariness of people. Some organizations use harassment of cougars, bears, and wolves, using dogs, bean bag rounds, air horns, and even higher levels of deterrents so that they will forever turn tail and run when they see a human being. In certain circumstances it can be successful.

      I also believe it is irresponsibly stupid to go into the North forests armed only with bear spray. If you want to add bear spray to your weaponry, fine. But it clearly cannot handle all situations. If a pack does target you, the cooperative hunting techniques they employ are very effective. The link that I included showed how devastating a predatory pack can be to people, even though it is rare. Regardless, luck favors the prepared.

      My own father told me never to rely on a rifle as your only means of defense in the bush. You put them down to go fishing, relive yourself, or when you’re tired, and that’s when the grizzly bear you didn’t see walks out of the woods. If you also have a sidearm, you never leave it behind. It may not be as effective, but it’s better than a rock.

      1. Yes, you are right about rifles and pistols. Also, anyone dumb enough to turn loose a dog in the national forest needs to be prosecuted for animal abuse. A wolf will tear apart a pack of dogs in a second with parts spread for a half mile in every direction. Cougars, same thing. But at least cougars can go tree to tree, up here anyway . Most people don’t see them cause they never look up. I prefer 12 gauge shotguns because a single shot pistol or even a semi auto won’t cut into a pack. Wolves who are hunted are not terrified of people. They just learn which ones shoot at them and which ones don’t. I live in the middle of wolf country and we have had encounters. We just learn to live with them and we never trust them. Can’t turn your back. FYI, Forest Service employees are not allowed to have weapons to defend themselves. They had bear spray. Government issue. The Ranger gave them two days off with pay for trauma.

    2. Kay,…
      Was the encounter the Forest Service guys had in the Bitteroot Range, or elsewhere?

  2. Oh for goodness sakes, everyone should have stopped panicking. The snake was tired and wanted a rest. All they had to do was fend it off with something. The Dad sounded fairly calm but everyone else was up a tree.

    The children were all right there at the edge of the boat, with one standing actually on the edge. They were all leaned way over, poised to fall right on top of the hapless snake. A whole boat of kids almost jumped a rattler in their hysteria. How would that have sounded to the Emergency Room doctor?

    This isn’t a fictional creature like Jaws that goes out of its way to attack people. They should have gotten the kids away from the edge and towards the other side in case the snake climbed aboard. If it was over tired, it might have risked a boat of shrieking people. Then get an oar or something to splash water at it and flick it away, being careful not to hold it there for the snake to twine around. Or start the boat and motor away (or row, maybe it was a paddle boat.)

    When you go into the wilderness, it’s a good idea to know what to do when you encounter wild animals. When you’re panicking is a bad time to start figuring out what you are supposed to do.

  3. That snake was probably just trying to investigate what all the commotion was about. Just a curious snake.

  4. Watch out for snakes. North Carolina has a number of creatures. But they speak better up here than in South Carolina. Any snake can swim. Some, like cotton mouths, prefer to. People on boats need love too. That is on a bumper sticker out here in NC>

  5. The hysterical screaming really helped the group in big boat to deal with snake.

  6. Geez, one more thing to worry about. Damn. And just when I had gotten used to sleeping with the nightlight off.

  7. If you visit the coast of Texas, you will see (hopefully!) signs posted advising people to keep off the sand dunes, a favorite habitat of rattlesnakes.

  8. There’s not a creature above or below ground that will actively seek to do you harm except a polar bear, a water buffalo and man.

    1. mespo727272, you left out pythons, lions and hungry tigers. Also packs of wolves and dingos. Sharks.

      Unsure about Komodo dragons.

      1. Pythons, lions and hungry tigers only attack out if hunger or fear not due to disposition like the other three. Intrusions into their living space makes these encounters violent.

      2. Wolves do not typically attack people unless they are rabid. My TA studied wolves. They discovered a den after the pack moved on that was literally right next to a campground in Alaska. Inside the abandoned den, mere feet from the camp, were chewed up shoes and footballs. Apparently, the adults snuck into camp at night and quietly stole toys for the cubs. They had to use modified traps to capture them for tagging and study. The brush was so thick that a tranquilized wolf just ran off, hid, and slept it off. Remember, these were scientists not outdoorsmen or trackers. So they modified a trap to catch and hold them. When they walked up to them to tranquilize them, she said they would look at her like they knew they were going to die. A trapper had advised that you could take a forked stick, hold it on the back of their neck, and they would roll over. She said it actually worked when she tried it.

        Where you run into trouble are the coyote/wolf hybrids, or wolf/dog, who lack the intense shyness of people that wolves have. Two other factors are habituation to humans, and intense starvation during winter.

        Wolf attacks do happen, especially lone wolves against joggers, but considering how many wolves live in Alaska, it’s rare. One reason could be that most people in Alaska are armed, and modern weapons can fire more shots than a flintlock. Of course, that might change if the far Left gets its way.


      3. DB Benson,….
        – I watch a group of Huskies demolish a pack of Cougars almost every year in the Apple Cup game.😉

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