The Appearance of a Snake

An excerpt from William Bartram’s Travels describing the Anhinga and its habits, published in 1791:

Anhinga “snake bird” perched in a Cypress; Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia. March 4, 2017. © Please don’t steal my images. Download and use legally at

“They delight to sit in little peaceable communities, on the dry limbs of trees, hanging over the still waters, with their wings and tails expanded, I suppose to cool and air themselves, when at the same time they behold their images in the watery mirror: at such times, when we approach them, they drop off the limbs into the water as if dead, and for a minute or two are not to be seen; when on a sudden at a vast distance, their long slender head and neck only appear, and have very much the appearance of a snake, and no other part of them are to be seen when swimming in the water, except some the tip end of their tail. In the heat of the day they are seen in great numbers, sailing very high in the air, over lakes and rivers.”  Part II, Chapter V

William Bartram was a botantist, artist, and nature writer that explored the southeastern United States around the time of the American Revolution (1773-1776). He was a scientist, creationist and Christian that gave glory to the Author for all the wonderful works he observed and documented in his book, Travels Through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida. 

iNaturalist observation:

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