Mangrove Salt Marsh Snake
Along the U.S. coast form the the Atlantic coast of Florida to Texas.
Found in coastal brackish water and saltwater estuaries, salt marshes, and tidal mud flats.
Extremely long and slender body. Eyes are very large. Mildly venomous fangs. Coloring varies in this species.
Very rarely does this snake leave the trees and come to the ground. Largely nocturnal, although it has often been observed during the day. It moves with incomparable grace and climbs trees with incredible speed. On the ground the mangrove snake is no less agile; it will travel rapidly in a straight line but invariably seeks to reach the nearest high point, quickly taking advantage of the hummock to arrange itself in rings. When not hunting, the mangrove curls up and spends the day motionless.
This snake is frequently seen basking above the water on the limbs of mangrove trees. It also uses the burrows of fiddler crabs as a resting space. Although it lives in a saltwater habitat, it does not have salt glands to help it get rid of excess salt. Instead, it obtains freshwater from rain, coastal streams, or from its prey. Like all snakes, it is an excellent predator and helps keep prey populations in check.
These snakes will grasp branches with the lower 1/3 of their body, leaving the upper part of itself coiled and ready to strike (defensively or in feeding). They are considered 'rear-fanged' snakes, a grooved tooth on either side of the rear mouth area allows these snakes to utilize their venom.