Snakes in lakes not so unusual according to AZ Game and Fish

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A rattlesnake was caught on camera swimming in Lake Pleasant. (Source: Scott Stokes) A rattlesnake was caught on camera swimming in Lake Pleasant. (Source: Scott Stokes)

Video of a rattlesnake swimming in Lake Pleasant is getting a lot of attention, but the Arizona Game and Fish Department says snakes in water are not unusual.

"I know it comes as a surprise to some people, but snakes swim, they actually swim very well," said Game and Fish Wildlife Education Program Manager Mike Demlong.

[RELATED: Caught on camera: Rattlesnake swimming in water at Lake Pleasant]

In fact, he said some snakes are aquatic, like garter snakes, meaning they spend most of their time in or around water.

"Others, like rattlesnakes, just occasionally will get in the water, but there are many varieties, many species that will go into the water," said Demlong.

As for why the non-aquatic snakes take a dip? Well, Demlong says it could be for any number of reasons.

"It could be escaping a predator. It could be looking for a mate. It could be going to new habitat. It could just be out cooling itself off when it's 100 degrees out," he said.

Now that it is warmer, there's a more of a chance to encounter a swimming snake anywhere in the state.

So, while it's not uncommon for snakes to hang out in the water, Demlong says capturing the action on camera doesn't happen often.

"It's just kind of a lucky moment. That's the day you buy a lottery ticket if you get to see a snake in the water," said Demlong.

He did stress that snakes, no matter the species, don't pose any real threat in our waterways as long as you leave them alone.

"When you see a snake in the water and it's moving somewhere, it's not interested in attacking you," he said.

As a department, Demlong says rattlesnakes in the water is not what they're worried about.
"What we're worried about is people not wearing their flotation devices when they're in the water or drinking, or doing things they shouldn't do in the water. That's where the risk is," he said.

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