Venomous Swimming Rattlesnake Attempts to Board Boat on Fontana Lake in North Carolina

Rattlesnake climb boat fontana lake
A rattlesnake tastes the air on the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Reserve on March 27, 2006, near Ajo, Arizona. On July 15, a rattlesnake attempted to climb onto a boat on Fontana Lake in North Carolina. David McNew/Getty Images

A swimming timber rattlesnake terrified a family and campers from Adventure Amputee Camp when it attempted to climb into their boat on Fontana Lake in North Carolina.

Wayne Robbins shared a video of the incident on Instagram and explained that every year his family joins the kids of Adventure Amputee Camp for an "incident free" day. However, on July 15, an "uninvited rattlesnake" boarded the boat while two camp counselors were on a tube attached to the boat in the water.

Three children with limb differences and his family were aboard the boat and as the snake slithered its way towards the vessel, the kids can be heard screaming. One child is heard commanding the person behind the wheel to "drive."

The snake approached the side of the boat before heading to the back, where it climbed onto a ramp that was slightly covered by water. When the snake climbed onto the back of the boat, a woman, possibly Robbins's wife, Alexa, shushes the children and tries to calm them down while Robbins tells them not to move.

Fortunately, Robbins approaching the snake and the kids' screaming was enough to scare the reptile away, which slithered across the water. Robbins told the Charlotte Observer that his plan was to "whack" the snake, but fortunately, the reptile was "smart" and understood "he wasn't wanted."

The Robbins' are from Knoxville, Tennessee, and volunteer at the Adventure Amputee Camp and Robbins told WBTV that it's the second time they've been on the lake but the first rattlesnake they've met. When the family got home, Robbins consulted with a friend who's a snake expert at the Knoxville Zoo and he learned that rattlesnakes don't like water.

"He was looking for any way out of it," Robbins explained. "We thought he was being aggressive, but he was really just desperate."

The timber rattlesnake is considered the third most dangerous rattlesnake in North America, according to Reptiles Magazine. It can grow to more than five feet and weigh nearly 10 pounds. Their venom is both hemorrhagic and neurotoxin, which thickens a human's blood and can cause paralyzing effects. Their bite can be life-threatening and "extremely toxic."

Lou Fraser, the owner of Reptile Removal USA, a snake removal company, told KXTV that rattlesnakes can swim and will do so if it needs to get from "point A to point B." However, it's less of a threat to humans in water than it is on land because it's not in "attack mode" while swimming. If a person finds themselves in the water with a rattlesnake, Fraser advised the person to stay very still until the snake swims away.

On July 8, Twitter user Jonathan Carabba posted a video of a rattlesnake he saw swimming on the American River in California while he was kayaking. Other people have found rattlesnakes in pool noodles and in July 2017, a tenacious rattlesnake climbed aboard a boat on Folsom Lake in California.