Your first clue in this piece of cake -
I'll tell you upfront - I'm a snake!
And here is one more clue for you:
I have not just one name but two
Far from water, I'll rarely be
(but fresh water, not in the sea)
I live in marsh, lake, or river
Seeing me might make you shiver
Despite my name, I'm not a shoe
You wear to get to your canoe
I'll eat turtles, frogs, birds, and fish,
And small mammals, as I might wish
Injecting venom with fangs hollow
The prey's mine with one big swallow
In my mouth you'll find no cotton
But should I bite, you'll feel rotten
You got this one, right?
I am an eastern cottonmouth
Residing only in the south
I would not have seen this guy off the trail had not a sharp-eyed naturalist pointed him out to me. The snake was about 12 to 15 feet away and floating in water. This photo was taken with my camera's maximum optical zoom - about five power. I wish I had my Sony with me. See him? He is dead center.
from this same spot a few years ago was darker (and also about as big around as a large man's arm).
It was a thrill to see this snake, which would be very dangerous to pick up. Best to leave them alone.