MAYPORT, Fla. – A surfer made a hair-raising discovery this week while paddling through the big waves that were being created by a system offshore -- a snake washing in with the surf.
A local photographer captured pictures of the snake, and 911 Surf Report posted the pictures online with the caption "Whoaa! This guy came in on a wave!"
When most people come to the beach, they might be concerned about rip currents, jellyfish or even the small possibility that they will see a shark, but snakes in the surf? Apparently, that's something to be concerned about as well right now at the Poles near Mayport.
The snake, sporting a little sea foam, came ashore wet and disoriented, the photographer told News4Jax. The land snake was likely washed out to sea because of dredging near the the base.
"There have been unusually high tides," said lifeguard Rob Emahiser with Jax Beach Ocean Rescue. "They do go around the trash cans and look for things to eat, so anything is possible."
Snakes are everywhere along the coastline, Emahiser said, hiding out in the dunes. He said sometimes when it's hot, the snakes peek their heads out of their holes, but rarely do they bother a person 20 times bigger than them.
"It's not that unusual. We see them regularly here," Emahiser said. "Just stay away from them. Don't freak out. They won't chase you down. Just don't bother them."
The picture was startling to swimmers and surfers.
"I haven't seen anything so far," surfer Bo Miller said. "It's definitely sketchy."
Many said they already have enough on their minds because the ocean hosts wilderness underwater.
"I think I'd rather stay in the pool," swimmer Teresa Quin said. "I'm a fish girl. I like to go to the beach, but it's kinda scary."
The snake was captured by animal control officers and placed back in the dunes, leaving some wondering if the slithering surfer will catch another wave.
"We just ran into a couple of jelly fish up here," swimmer Thomas Lewis said. "But this is a little different. This is something that if it really wanted to, it could latch on, and it would be kind of hard to get off."
Lifeguards said snakes in the surf is a very rare occurrence and reminded swimmers and surfers that the snakes are more afraid of people than the people are of them.