Windshield snake scares family, amuses world, then dies

The windshield snake was really a gray rat snake.

A video of a freaked out family watching a huge snake slither across their windshield and around the mom’s rear-view mirror has become a international video hit. The San Francisco Gate asks whether it was really animal cruelty, since you’d normally expect somebody to stop when they notice an animal stuck on their moving car.

The dad thought it was a venomous water mocassin, a type of cottonmouth. “This is a water moccasin, a huge water moccasin inside our car,” Tony Fisher says on the video. His calmer wife corrects him, noting its outside the car. They had three kids in the car so I don’t think you can blame them for not stopping if they thought it was poisonous.

Water mocassin appears to be just a wild ass guess, though. They don’t live in TN and they’re short, fat and float in water. The Tennessee Herpetological Society says there are 32 species of snakes in TN, only four of which are venomous: a copperhead, a cottonmouth and a couple of rattlesnakes.

The water mocassin, Agkistrodon piscivorus, is fat and short and not in TN. By Hunter-Desportes

The Commercial Appeal explains that it was really “a harmless gray rat snake, a friend to man because it kills mice and rats, said Steve Reichling, curator of reptiles at the Memphis Zoo.”

If only Fisher had been able to see this article “Is that Really a Water Mocassin?” However, the most common snake misidentification that occurs is between the Water Moccasin (Cottonmouth) and virtually any snake found in or near the water.

But people who don’t know a lot of animals tend to identify them as the big, terrifying ones they have heard of. I also have to respect them because the guy at least thought enough to pull out his camera. If this were my friends or family it would be yet another wild animal story that just ends in me asking “So did you get any pictures?”

coatiroo Where to SEE ANIMALS Coait, Prairie Dog, Otter, kangaroo, skunk, porcupine, salamander, snake, squid, pretty much anything rare


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