Photographer captures striking images of copperhead snake devouring cicada

Charlton McDaniel had been trying to get a shot of the bug emerging from its shell, but instead got something much more dramatic.

An amateur photographer has gone viral with a set of images showing a snake devouring a bug.

The series of photos, taken in the Ozark National Forest in Arkansas on July 17, show the venomous copperhead snake feasting on one of two cicadas Charlton McDaniel spotted near his campsite after returning from some moonlit kayaking.

A copperhead snake eating a cicada
(Charlton McDaniel via AP)

Mr McDaniel said he was trying to capture pictures of the cicadas moulting, as they were still in their shells, and initially tried to shoo the snake away.

“I recognised it as a copperhead right off, a young one less than a year old,” Mr McDaniel told the Springfield News-Leader. “It was pretty persistent. I shoved him away twice with a stick, but it was desperately hungry.”

When the snake returned a third time, he backed off and allowed the reptile its meal, taking the opportunity to get in close for some striking images as it did so.

“I knew that while it was swallowing it was really vulnerable and couldn’t bite me,” he said.

A copperhead snake eating a cicada
(Charlton McDaniel via AP)

Cicadas spend 17 years maturing underground before emerging to complete their transformation into fully fledged adults.

The young copperhead had probably been waiting in the spot for cicadas to emerge from the ground.

Mr McDaniel said the snake slithered off after finishing its meal.

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