I came across this odd situation at John Bunker Sands Wetland Center in Seagoville, Texas as I was walking along the shore one of the facility’s water tanks. In the distance I noticed a large fish at the surface of the pond behaving strangely.
As I approached I could see the fish rolling over and over in the water. He was clearly in some kind of distress, but the cause was not obvious. I kept watching, and every so often I would catch a glimpse of something decidedly unfish-looking in the roiling water. I couldn’t make out what it was.
Eventually, I got close enough for a good look at what was going on. To my surprise, a Diamond-backed Water Snake had a hold of the dead or dying fish, and was doing his best to find a place he could get his jaws around it.
The fish was too big, though—nearly the size of a grown man’s forearm, and there was no way the snake was every going to be able to swallow it. After a few more minute of twirling around in the water, the ambitious snake came to the same conclusion.
He released the fish and swam away into the reeds on the far side of the tank.