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Mating snakes drawing big crowds along popular Lakeland trail

Florida water snakes mating along Lakeland trail
Posted at 10:41 PM, Feb 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-18 23:20:30-05

LAKELAND, Fla. -- More snakes than some people want to count or see are spotted hanging out in the trees along a section of Lake Hollingsworth in Lakeland for mating season.

Lakeland city officials said the snakes have been coming to the same area for the past five years. They put caution tape up around the area where the snakes are hanging out, taking care of business.

The public is receiving alerts telling them the snakes are non-venomous.

On Facebook, the City of Lakeland Parks and Recreations Department posted about the reptiles romp in the trees.

“Our Parks Division was able to receive assistance from the Public Works Department - Lakes and Storm Water Division. They have identified the snakes found by the roundabout as Florida water snakes. It appears they have congregated for mating. They are non-venomous and generally not aggressive as long as people do not disturb them. Once the mating is over, they should go their separate ways,” the post said.

Dozens of people walked up to the caution tape to get a closer look. Despite some big snakes hanging out in the trees right in front of them, many were difficult to spot through the Spanish moss.

“I would love to see em, I love snakes,” Pam Bristol said.

Bristol came down to the lake with a friend to see the snakes but couldn’t find them. She was still happy to know the city alerted residents to protect the non-venomous snakes.

“They are interesting and very beneficial, so so many people see snakes and want to kill them, but really they are beneficial,” Bristol said.

One visitor from South Dakota thought the snakes in the tree were classic Florida.

“It is wild. I guess you have nature right here in your backyard, you can watch snake mating season while you take a nice walk,” Holly Borchers said.

To be clear, there are venomous snakes in Florida lakes. So anyone wanting to get a closer look at the snakes should keep their distance.

The city told people, "While we cannot rule out the presence of other species being in that location or other locations around the lake, we believe the water snakes have congregated in that area as they seem to do yearly. We have put up caution tape in the area and are in the process of hanging signs to make the public aware of their presence. This is for the protection of the public and the snakes.”

“A lot of people get confused with them,” Tri Johnson said. “The water snakes are harmless. But, it’s very tricky knowing the difference between a water moccasin and a water snake. You need to respect them because they are in the wild and in their natural habitat. They are definitely very scary and be careful for the real ones that could kill you.”

For more information about snakes in Florida, visit: