If there’s one thing creepier than walking up on a 5-foot venomous cottonmouth in a swamp, it’s finding one eaten down to the spine -- like a piece of corn on the cob.
That’s exactly what George Howard found Saturday at the The Swamp Park in eastern North Carolina, raising the question: What does that to a snake?
The Swamp Park is infamous for hosting some of the state’s creepiest wildlife, including alligators, copperheads, cottonmouths and countless species of vicious looking spiders.
Cryptozoologists might also insist Bigfoot and the fabled Carolina swamp monster known as Lizard Man might also be suspects, but neither have been reported at the park.
The sad corpse was found in the deepest part of the swamp, meaning anything is possible.
“This is the first snake corpse that we have found like this,” said Howard, general manager of the park at Ocean Isle Beach.
“I found it in the main channel of the swamp, hanging on a downed tree in the water. Noticed it was dead, so picked it up and sure enough, half was eaten like in the photo.”
Howard at first thought it was brown water snake, but later determined it was a cottonmouth, which is one of North Carolina’s venomous water snakes, Howard noted.
He believes one of the state’s most adorable animals is what ripped the snake apart, eating the head to a nub.
“River otters are cute, right? They are also an apex predator in their ecosystem,” he wrote on Facebook. “Not much else in our swamp could have done that.”
State biologist say otters can get as big as 24 pounds and are known to eat other “aquatic prey species,” so it’s conceivable one could wrestle a cottonmouth into submission -- then start chewing on its head.