Watch a Hungry Gator Turn Into a Underwater Torpedo and Snarf Down a Water Snake for Lunch

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Written by Angie Menjivar

Updated: November 4, 2023

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Alligator swimming through clear waters
© David Louis Tiffany/

Key Points:

  • Water snakes are frequently confused with water moccasins (cottonmouths), which are venomous snakes.
  • Water snakes themselves are non-venomous.
  • Water snakes can be found across North America and display various colorations and markings on their bodies, including olive green, gray, reddish, or brown.

The water snake in the video below was enjoying its preferred environment, swimming along with ease when it met its final fate. A lurking alligator spotted it and by the time the water snake realized it, it was too late.

What Is a Water Snake?

Northern watersnake (Nerodia sipedon) swimming underwater along hiking trail at Torrance Barrens during Summer

Water snakes are non-venomous.

©Chris Dale/

Frequently, water snakes are mistaken for water moccasins (also known as cottonmouths), which are venomous snakes. However, water snakes are non-venomous.

They are found throughout North America and have different colorations and markings on their bodies. They might be olive green, gray, reddish, or brown. Sometimes, when they’re wet, they look like they’re a solid dark color. Just like their name suggests, these snakes prefer living around water.

They might be found in ponds, rivers, or lakes and though they slither in through the water, you might also find one on land around the water or even up in a tree. But water snakes don’t travel far from their preferred water source.

Is it Normal Behavior for Alligators To Eat Water Snakes?

Close up of a water snake submerged in water.

Water snakes are often misidentified as water moccasins, also known as cottonmouths, despite the fact that water moccasins are venomous snakes.


Alligators are opportunistic and they like meat. They’re carnivores, so they eat a variety of meaty prey. Sometimes it’s a bird, sometimes it’s a fish, sometimes it’s a mammal, and sometimes it’s a snake. If it’s readily available and they can attack it and snack on it, alligators aren’t picky and won’t turn down the opportunity.

Even if they did happen to snatch up a venomous snake, it’s not a big deal to alligators because they are resistant to their venom. Therefore, they have not adapted to avoid eating snakes. They provide them with nutrition when they need it.

How Big Do Alligators Get?


Crocodiles are larger than alligators.

©Jim Schwabel/

Females usually average 8.2 feet in size, while males average 11.2 feet. Extraordinarily large males can weigh close to half a ton or 1,000 pounds.

The largest alligator on record measured 19 feet 2 inches, and the heaviest, found recently near Gainesville, Florida, weighed a whopping 1,043 lbs! However, such large and heavy alligators are quite uncommon.

Furthermore, crocodiles are bigger than alligators. When fully grown, they can be up to a meter longer than even big alligators. Crocodiles are also lighter in color and have long, v-shaped snouts that look like a big grin with lots of teeth. Unlike alligators, crocodiles can’t close their long snouts to hide their teeth.

Alligator Snarfs Down Water Snake

Florida Everglades Alligator wild gator

Alligators eat snakes, turtles, fish, birds, and other small mammals.

©Ernie Hounshell/

When the video below starts, the person holding the camera appears to be standing on a dock. The camera zooms into the murky green water where you can see the water snake swimming about, minding its own business. It keeps its head steady while it moves its body in a slithering motion, traveling swiftly in the water.

The water snake swims alongside the dock for a few moments then goes out to the middle portion of the pond. It pauses for a second, then continues forward, away from the dock. There’s a bridge in the background and you can see the other side of the water’s edge, which leads up toward a grassy area.

The snake pauses again as if sensing danger. That’s when you watch the alligator move in, swimming much faster than the snake.  

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About the Author

Angie Menjivar is a writer at A-Z-Animals primarily covering pets, wildlife, and the human spirit. She has 14 years of experience, holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology, and continues her studies into human behavior, working as a copywriter in the mental health space. She resides in North Carolina, where she's fallen in love with thunderstorms and uses them as an excuse to get extra cuddles from her three cats.

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