PHOTOS: Mangrove water snake catches fish in South Florida

Lauren Harre/USFWS photo

SOUTH FLORIDA (WFLA) – The Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Complex shared amazing nature photos of a mangrove water snake snacking on a fish. Crews from the complex saw the snake – with the freshly caught fish in its mouth – on a volunteer walk at Long Beach on Tuesday morning.

The snake “was in the long and complicated process of swallowing it down,” complex staff said. “The tide pools that are leftover when the tide goes out at this area of Long Beach create a fascinating landscape of marine life, one full of potential meals for a snake.”

Lauren Harre/USFWS photo
Lauren Harre/USFWS photo

Mangrove water snakes, and other similar snakes, can unhinge their jaws – by up to 150 degrees – to swallow food, according to the complex.

The mangrove water snakes are found only in South Florida, according to the National Wildlife Refuges Complex. They live in brackish/saltwater environments.

“They are highly variable in coloration, helping them to blend into their surroundings. They feed on fish, crabs and other invertebrates that are trapped by the dropping tide, as was the case here,” the complex explained.

This type of snake could be confused with the venomous Cottonmouth snake, crews said. However, mangrove water snakes are not a threat to people, according to the Wildlife Refuges Complex. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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