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Iowa Fisherman Photographs Northern Water Snake Eating a Catfish

May 29, 2015



Colin Wehrle of Moline, Ill was fishing when he happened upon this northern water snake (Nerodia sipedon) clutching a bullhead catfish in its jaws, seemingly ready to eat it. Wehrle sent the photo to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources which posted it to its Facebook page. The Iowa DNR confirmed the snake as a northern water snake and the fish a black bullhead catfish. 


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northern water snake

Colin Wehrle

A northern water snake about to eat a catfish.

It is a pretty cool photo showing what northern water snakes eat, and this photo was captured seemingly at just the right time. If the northern water snake swallows the catfish head first, it should have no problem. If it tries for a tail first swallow, the snake might not have success as bullhead catfish have a sharp spine on its dorsal fin that would more than like prevent the snake from swallowing it. But the northern water snake is primarily a fish eater so it shouldn’t have any problem with this seemingly large fish. 

 

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