I was at the lake recently when I had to deal with a situation that literally left me speechless and frozen where I was.

Michigan Snakes in the Water

I was sitting in a chair in the lake by the shore, just relaxing with my feet in the water while holding my baby in my arms. The situation I had to deal with was a snake swimming straight toward us in the water.

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While I was able to remain calm and quiet on the outside so as to not wake my sleeping child, it took so much on my part not to jump up screaming and running for my life. My mother-in-law was taking my picture at the exact moment I learned a snake was swimming straight towards me. Here are the before and after pictures of the incident.

Kristen Matthews TSM Lansing
Kristen Matthews TSM Lansing
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Kristen Matthews TSM Lansing
Kristen Matthews TSM Lansing
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At the end of the day, the snake was caught and taken away, but that whole incident left me with a lot of concerns, the primary of which was whether or not that snake was venomous.

Venomous Snakes in Michigan

The fact that there was a snake swimming in the lake was bad enough, but I had legitimate concerns about whether or not it was venomous. So I went out in search of an answer. Here's what I found.

Michigan has 18 different species of snakes. However, only one of them is venomous, and that would be the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake, commonly known as a swamp rattler. Here's a picture of one.

MichiganDNR via YouTube
MichiganDNR via YouTube
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You can identify this snake by its distinctive, segmented rattler, as well as the dark "video game controller" or "bowtie" shaped dark spots surrounded by white. Adult Massasaugas also grow to be about one to one-and-a-half feet long.

These snakes will often be found in or around wetlands, however, their population is declining.

At the end of the day, if you leave the snake alone, it will leave you alone. However, if you end up getting a bite from this snake, seek medical attention immediately.

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