Kayaker Encounters Huge Water Snake Slumped Over Log in Michigan River

A huge snake has been spotted relaxing on a log by a kayaker on the Chippewa River in Michigan.

Victoria Vargas filmed the snake and uploaded it to Midland County Facebook group AskMidland.

The dark-colored snake is slumped over a tree branch that extends out over the water's surface. It does not appear to move during the video.

Vargas wrote: "While kayaking on the Chippewa River this past Sunday we saw this huge snake on a log. Anyone know what kind it is?"

As of early Friday morning the post, which can be found here, had attracted hundreds of comments and likes.

One commenter wrote: "Seriously, I will never go near the river again."

Another Facebook user was more relaxed, writing: "You guys need to chill out… no need for all the snake hate. They really are wonderful creatures and are truly fascinating."

As for Vargas' question about the species, some commenters suggested that the reptile was a northern water snake. This was corroborated by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, according to local news outlet OurMidland.

Northern water snakes are some of the most common water snakes in the U.S. and can be found throughout the eastern half of the country, according to the National Wildlife Federation. They can grow to between 2 and 4.5 feet long.

These snakes are not venomous, but people may mistake them for species that are, such as copperheads or cottonmouths. As a result, northern water snakes are often killed by people who are afraid of them, according to the University of Michigan's Animal Diversity website.

When agitated, northern water snakes may flatten their heads and bite. Usually, they feed on fish and amphibians and swallow their prey alive.

Vargas told OurMidland that she had posted the video on Facebook in order to find out more about the snake. "I never meant to add fear to Michiganders and ruin summer fun on the river," she said.

The Chippewa River in Michigan runs for more than 90 miles through a mix of woodland, farm and residential areas. It is popular with kayakers and canoeists during warm months.

In other snake news, scientists in India have isolated two new species of antibiotic-resistant bacteria from the fecal matter of a mildly venomous species found in south and southeast Asia.

One researcher, Ravindra Chaudhari, said the results had implications for the treatment of snakebite and infectious diseases, according to reports in May.

Snake poking head up
Stock image of a northern water snake poking its head up above the ground. The species can be found throughout the eastern U.S. and is not venomous. Christina Radcliffe/Getty