The Walton County Sheriff's Office deputy said although he has seen alligators, he has never seen a snake on the beach during his two years patrolling the area.
WALTON COUNTY — Beachgoers shared the seashore with a venomous visitor Monday after a 4-foot cottonmouth was spotted at the water’s edge on Grayton Beach. During a routine beach patrol, a Walton County Sheriff’s Office deputy was flagged down by beachgoers and told, “There is a cottonmouth on the beach,” according to Corey Dobridnia, Walton County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman.
The deputy found a broomstick and persuaded the reptile to coil around it, Dobridnia said. He then placed it in the bed of his truck. The snake was unharmed and relocated to a rural location.
“It’s not every day we see a snake or an alligator on the beach, but it’s not uncommon,” Dobridnia said. “No one should be alarmed by it. The snake was brought to a safe location where it won’t hurt anyone.”
The deputy, according to Dobridnia, said although he has seen alligators, he has never seen a snake on the beach during his two years patrolling the area.
A cottonmouth, or water moccasin, is a species of pit viper typically found throughout Florida in wet freshwater areas including streams, lakes, marches, swamps, retention pounds and roadside ditches, according to Rebekah Nelson, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman. Nelson said the beach is not a typical place for a cottonmouth and it should be left alone if spotted.
"This snake could have been near the area of a coastal dune lake in brackish or fresh water and found its way to the beach," Nelson said. "Or, it may have come out of the surf after moving from a freshwater source like a nearby stream."
Although water moccasin sightings are a rare occurrence on the Gulf of Mexico beaches, alligator sightings are, although still rare, more common.
Last year, according to Dobridnia, a baby alligator was found on a beach in Walton County.
In 2012, a 6-foot alligator was found on a beach in Santa Rosa County. A 9-footer was also seen on a Santa Rosa beach in 2003.
This is the first cottonmouth beach sighting covered by the Daily News.