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Northern Water Snake Grabs A Catfish Dinner

Nerodia sipedon are fish eaters often mistaken for water moccasins

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Did you see the latest viral video of a northern water snake (Nerodia sipedon) catching and dragging what looks like a bullhead catfish onto a rock? Well it looks pretty cool but that snake is going to need to flip the fish and eat it head first if it wants to avoid the spine on the dorsal fin of the catfish that could do some damage to the throat of the snake. Since the snake is a fish eater, it should have no problem eating the catfish.


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The snake was recorded on video by Jason Dickerson, who was kayaking on Falls Lake in North Carolina when he happened upon the encounter. The catfish looks fairly large in the photo and might be a challenge for the water snake to gulp down, but you know that it is going to give it 110 percent. So have you seen a water snake in action like Dickerson did at Falls Lake?

Northern water snakes are colubrid snakes that are native to North America. They can grow up to four feet in length and can weigh between 5 and 14 oz. They are brown, gray, reddish or brownish-black and are fish eaters. They are often mistaken for water moccasins and are sometimes killed because folks don’t know the difference. The water snake has a longer body and a flattened head while the water moccasin is fatter and has a wedged shaped head, cat-like pupils, and heat sensing pits between its eyes and nostrils.


John Virata keeps a western hognose snake, a ball python, two corn snakes, a king snake, and two leopard geckos. His first snake, a California kingsnake, was purchased for $5. His first pet reptile was a green anole that arrived in a small box via mail order. Follow him on Twitter @johnvirata