BAD SNAKE...Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus). This is an adult about 4' long.
GOOD SNAKE...Southern Water Snake (Nerodia fasciata).
Note the head shape of these two snakes. The Cottonmouth above has a diamond shaped head, typical of pit vipers, all of which are venomous. Not a particularly aggressive snake, BUT, it's bite can be fatal.
Webb MD First Aide for Snake BiteSnakes of Florida ID guideSnakes of Florida ID guide
Here is a much narrower head shape on the Southern Water Snake. The coloration of this species is quite variable with this Central Florida race being quite dark. Non-venomous collubrid, also not aggressive..but will bite if threatened.
I really don't mean to infer that venomous snakes are BAD...all creatures have a place in our natural world. BUT, I would be a bit more careful around the Cottonmouth.....and any other snake I could not positively identify.
Highlands Hammock State Park, near Sebring, was built by the CCC and has a beautiful picnic area, many interesting trails, and a nice CCC museum.
The Ranger at the front gate recommended the Cypress Swamp Trail........on a boardwalk and through an old Live Oak Hammock. It was really beautiful.
The boardwalk provided a stable platform for some nice photos.
Golden-Silk Spider (Nephila clavipes). Big and scary for hikers as it spins it's web over trails (and boardwalks). But, bites only if handled....and the bite is mild...less than a bee sting.
Quill-Leaf (Tilandsia fasciculata) epiphyte and Christmas Lichen (Cryptothecia rubrocinta) growing on a Bald Cypress (Taxodium distchum) tree.
Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)...a small flycatcher and winter visitor to Florida.
Not many butterflies around, but did spot this large Skipper....short of a DNA identification, I'll call it a Three-spotted Skipper (Cymaenes tripunctus).
There is always something in bloom in Florida. Common Primrose Willow (Ludwigia peruviana).
Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly (Calopteryx maculata).
Wife Olivia and son Andy enjoying the Christmas vacation outing.
Nice museum about the Civilian Conservation Corps....part of America's history.
FDR's New Deal provided work for many and the projects still grace our parks and preserves.
The museum had a friendly docent and we learned a lot.
What a nice family outing. Sure beats Christmas shopping!!!