This past September (2009) while on our annual family beach trip we had a snake encounter. I can't say that I would ever expect to see a snake on the beach, but a snake on the beach we did see.
Mom and I broke away from everyone else and was walking well up and above the high tide line. Walking and meandering, picking up shells, picking up trinkets, drift wood, and other treasure. Mom casually said, "There's a snake". I glanced over, seen a funky shaped stick and commented, "That does look like a snake". By then the tone in moms voice went up a few octaves. "It is a snake"! Taking a second look--yes, it IS a snake! Short, stumpy, chunky, and alive! Any laying well out in the open, on the beach, no cover, no protection--a snake!
Me, being on a picture happy trip and trying to preserve all memories and aspects of my trip, whipped out my camera. Going in close, zooming in, bending down I am putting my mother into a panic! "Watch out, it might jump on you, it will bite you"! Me, thinking about how few poisonous snakes we have in relation to the many common non-poisonous snakes in our area, continued to snap pictures while he was raising his head and posing for me. Of course non-poisonous snakes bite too...I realize...So I got my pictures taken and we left this snake to sun.
Later in the day me and Elena went to my most favorite book store ever in Buxton, North Carolina. Gigi--the owner of the book store--loves nature herself and is very knowledgeable about the critters in the area. Living on the coast, loving nature, loving books, and owning a book store--does it get any better than that? She gladly took a look at our picture and immediately identified it as a cottonmouth. Glad mom was not there at the moment! She pointed out some of the characteristic traits of a cottonmouth for us. She also said this was the second one in a week she knew of that had been seen. In the few days prior to our arrival there had been a torrential down pour of rain. In fact, on the day we had arrived highway 12 was flooded in areas where it normally does not flood and there were areas that stayed flooded the whole time we were there! We are talking 2-3 feet of water in some places...it had no where to go. The snakes were simply displaced--ran out of their abodes.
When we returned to the house we gave mom the verdict of the snake id. I can still hear her groaning now and giving me the big "I TOLD YOU SO". For the rest of the week I noticed mom taking second and third looks at the sticks on the beach....okay, I took a few extra glances myself!