Ask the Swan Specialist

Re: Water moccasin and trumpeter swans
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 4 August 2014
In Response To: Water moccasin and trumpeter swans (Sally)

Hi Sally:

Yes, we have heard of swans being bitten by snakes. Water moccasins are nasty snakes and can cause problems in the reeds and will even hang around near and under the nest. So, more importantly, you need to be careful when accessing these areas for your safety.

Swans can be killed by snakes, but the hopeful point is that if the snake does not bite the swan in the neck, leg, body or head, and instead bites the feathers and the venom is not injected into a major body part, then the swan could survive. In any case, if you suspect that the swan has been bitten, it is vital that you get the bird to a veterinarian as quickly as possible. Even then, the bird may not be able to survive.

The best solution is removing the water moccasins and any vegetative habitat (excessive reeds, torpedo grasses, water lilies/pads in which the snakes can hide from predators such as hawks and owls). If you remove thick vegetation, the snakes will look for other areas to hide and hang out. They will swim in the water, but usually will not stay in open areas because of the threat of birds and other predators. Also, the more disturbance of an area, will cause most snakes and other animals to avoid those areas. For instance, if you constantly run a weed eater/mower or boat around the reeds, the snakes may move on just because they do not like to be disturbed. We hope this information is of benefit. The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

Water moccasin and trumpeter swans -- Sally -- 4 August 2014
Re: Water moccasin and trumpeter swans -- The Regal Swan -- 4 August 2014