Screams erupted on a family’s boat as a timber rattlesnake slithered toward them and then briefly climbed aboard.
The Knoxville, Tennessee, family captured the bizarre scene on video and posted the footage on Instagram.
“Univited rattlesnake boards our boat on Fontana Lake,” Wayne Robbins titled his initial Instagram video post.
The screaming started when the family spotted the snake darting toward them on Fontana Lake in western North Carolina on July 15. The screaming subsided only as the snake suddenly darted back into the lake.
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“I was going to whack him,” Robbins told the Observer in an interview Wednesday night. “He was a pretty smart snake. He knew he wasn’t wanted.”
His 14-year-old daughter Kathleen filmed the snake using his wife Alexa’s phone, Wayne Robbins told the Observer.
Also aboard were Kathleen’s sister, 11-year-old Kelly, and three or four children who were attending the all-volunteer Adventure Amputee Camp’s summer camp held at the Nantahala Outdoor Center, Wayne Robbins said.
The Robbins family volunteered at the camp, bringing their boat and other equipment.
They also volunteer at the Patricia Neal Innovative Recreation Cooperative in Knoxville, which is for people “who have suffered a life changing illness or injury in East Tennessee,” according to the cooperative’s website. Other volunteers from the cooperative also took boats and other equipment to assist at the NC camp, Wayne Robbins said.
The camp hosted about 40 children, according to Robbins. Campers come from the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast, according to Adventure Amputee Camp Inc.’s website.
But what an adventure this summer.
“This is our second time at that lake and the first timber rattlesnake we’ve ever encountered,” Robbins told Raycom News Network.
The screams came from everyone on the boat, he told the Observer. The screams that sound the loudest on the video are from Kathleen, but only because she’s closest to the phone, he said.
Timber rattlesnakes are venomous, can be found throughout the state and are as long as 4 feet, the Raleigh News & Observer reported. Their bites are worse than those of similarly venomous copperheads and cottonmouths and should be considered medical emergencies, the newspaper reported.
Social media, however, reacted not with alarm but humor.
“Its cute,” one person posted.
“It seemed like he wanted to hitch a ride back to land, no?” said another.
Robbins told the Observer that those on his boat weren’t rattled for long. “Everybody got in the water right afterward,” he said.