A couple of days ago I was walking down an island path with Lachlan when we spotted a large, heavy bodied snake about three feet long, maybe longer. He (or she) was already half concealed by a conglomeration of dead branches, vines, and leaves. As we approached, the snake began to slither further under cover and eventually disappeared.
We never did see the snake's head, but it's body was dark with thin amber bands about an inch or two apart. I am not a herpetologist, but after some searching I have determined that this was a Northern Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon), or more likely, a subspecies, the Carolina Water Snake. According to the Davidson College web site, this snake "inhabits brackish water, salt marshes, and fresh water along the Outer Banks." Although not poisonous (common knowledge suggests that there are no poisonous snakes on Ocracoke Island), this snake will bite when handled (we were not tempted).
You can read more about this snake, and see photos here:
This month's newsletter discusses the planned replacement of the seven bridges on Ocracoke Island in early 2008, and explains some of the issues we will face. You can read it here.