FL hiker stumbles upon rare 'rainbow snake'

Posted at 1:37 PM, Feb 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-22 14:37:37-05

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute said a hiker stumbled across a rare sighting this week.

Hiker Tracey Cauthen recently reported stumbling upon a 4 ft Rainbow Snake while hiking in the Ocala National Forest.

The Florida Museum of Natural History confirms this is the first record of this species in Marion County since 1969, the institute said. They said their biologists speculate the recent drawdown of Rodman Reservoir had this rainbow snake on the move.

Rainbow snakes are highly-aquatic, spending most of their life hidden amongst aquatic vegetation; seldom seen, even by herpetologists, due to their cryptic habits. Burrowing near creeks, lakes, marshes, and tidal mudflats, rainbow snakes specialize in eating eels, earning the nickname “eel moccasin”.