On The Trail of the Waddling Trapjaw

In late August I found myself in the vicinity of the Snake Road, so I thought I would swing by and see what might be out and about in the heat of the summer.  The road was open, and I drove slowly with the windows down, listening to birdsong and keeping an eye on the gravel in front of me.  Before too long, I saw a cottonmouth crawl onto the road on my left, and I stopped to take a look.

Getting out, I noticed another Cottonmouth further up the road, moving in a peculiar fashion.  I took a shot of the closer snake, and then walked up the road to check out the other one.

It was a gravid female, and she was so heavy with babies she could not move in normal serpent fashion.  She was almost dragging her back half, in a wiggling, waddling fashion.  I hadn't seen many noticeably gravid females, since I didn't often visit Cottonmouth habitat during high summer.  I was interested in watching her make her way.

I moved in to take her picture, and she raised her head and showed me the white tissues inside her mouth.  It occurred to me how vulnerable she was in this condition, exposed out in the open.  I grabbed a shot and backed off to let her crawl off the road.

She slowly waddled away, keeping her head raised and her eye on me as she went.  It took her several slow minutes to get off the road and into the bordering forest.  I figured it wouldn't be long before her newborn offspring would lie coiled and concealed among the leaf litter somewhere along the road.


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