Rare, eel-hunting rainbow snake spotted by hikers in Ocala National Forest

by

comment
fwc-snake.jpg
A hiker in the Ocala National Forest last week stumbled upon a rare sight, when they spotted and photographed a rainbow snake, also known as an "eel moccasin."

According to a Facebook post by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Wildlife Research Institute, the snakes are rarely seen, due to their "cryptic habits." In fact, the Florida Museum of Natural History confirmed it was the first sighting since 1969.



Unlike Florida's more ubiquitous Burmese pythons and iguanas, rainbow snakes (farancia erytrogramma) are native to Florida, specifically in the panhandle and northern areas, down through Central Florida via the St. John's River.

They are nonvenomous and great swimmers, "burrowing near creeks, lakes, marshes, and tidal mudflats," and acquired their nickname because they specialize in eating eels, according to FWC.
Stay on top of Orlando news and views. Sign up for our weekly Headlines newsletter.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.