There are fish and snakes in the stormwater runoff pond behind the hotel. I didn't realize the multitude of fish there until one day when the light was just right to add clarity to the murky water. Thereafter I noticed fish on nearly every visit. I didn't start noticing snakes until the water level went really low.

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This was the first time I noticed fish in the pond. How did I miss all these swimmers on past visits?
[Approximately 20 striped fish each approximately 8-10 inches long gathered in a small section of water.]

Bluegill - a member of the sunfish family.
[A fish swimming toward the camera with the entire length of the fish visible. The top fin and tail are swerved to the right and are an orangish-red color. The dark stripes on the side of the fish are barely visible from this top view.]

A side view of the colorful bluegill.
[From this view the fish has a red tail and red tinged hind fins (both lower and upper). The dark stripes are clearly visible against what appears to be a yellow body. A second bluegill swims beside the first but the murky water makes it less visible.]

Probably another bluegill.
[This fish is closer to the top of the water and the lighting was such that it isn't as colorful as the prior image. However, nine dark stripes and one eye are clearly visible. A second fish swims at a lower level perpendicular to the first.]

These may be tiny bluegills. They're eating something which was floating in the water.
[The water is a brown, but because of the bright sun, the little swimmers which are about three inches long and about the diameter of a pencil are visible in the water. Eleven distinct fish are visible swimming around a brownish clump of something floating in the water. Little black eyes within white are visible at the head end of some of the fish.]

Brown bullhead catfish. The story is someone tossed this into the pond several years ago and it continues to grow.
[The body of this fish is medium to dark brown while its tail and two side fins are a light beige. It has a wide mouth with the

These two were watching me. As I moved along the fenceline at the top of the hillside, they moved in the water in the same direction and stopped when I did. I didn't realize fish could see that far!
[Two large fish are in the water parallel to each other and facing the lower right. The each seem bo have their mouths open slightly. They are as large as the catfish, but no whiskers are visible on either one.]

Apparently the catfish are reproducing. All the little black specks are baby catfish.
The little ones seem to like the bread someone threw into the water.
[A slice of bread lies atop the water on the far left of the photo and another one on the far right. There are lines of tiny fish between the two. There's probably more than a hundred tiny dark-colored fish visible in the brown water.]

A closer view of the young catfish.
[A view of the brown water in which a black cloud of fish swim.]

This is a Florida banded water snake. It's over 3 foot long and several inches in diameter, but it's more than happy to leave you alone if you leave it alone.
[A snake is essing its way across the top of the shallow water laden with grass. The dark-colored snake has rust-colored bands along its length. Its head has a prominent eye and the lower half of its face is white with thin black vertical stripes.]

This is a young water moccasin.
I guestimated it to be about 1.5 foot long and less than an inch in diameter.
[The sunlight reflects off the pattern of brown, white, and reddish on this snake slithering atop the cloudy water.]

Had I not seen the snake on the open water (prior photo), I probably would not have noticed it to capture this image.
[The snake is a bit more coiled in this image as it slithers atop the water where there is quite a bit of floating vegetation. The vegetation is mostly green, but there are some brown parts which would make spotting the snake a bit more difficult had I not watched it slither into that area.]

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