(3.2) CAPT. ERIKA: Snakes, Silver Springs and Captain Erika Ritter of the Ocklawaha River Valley, Florida


Silver Springs


Captain Erika Ritter

of the

Ocklawaha River Valley, Florida

Photo Memory Gallery

NOTE: Click-on individual photos to enlarge them!

An Information, Opinion, Photos, & Sources Report

Compiled by Ocklawahaman Paul Nosca

With the assistance of Captain Erika Ritter

All photographs from the collection of Captain Erika Ritter

Created: 31 July 2013

Last Revised: 30 May 2015


Many folks today know Marion County, Florida's own Captain Erika Ritter as the Coast Guard licensed owner-operator of "A Cruising Down the River" tours who skillfully takes her customers on pontoon-boat trips upon the Ocklawaha River for bird and other wildlife watching, ecology study, fishing, or just plain-old family pleasure outings.

Lots of people also recognize Captain Erika Ritter as a dedicated and outspoken environmentalist who tenaciously advocates for the restoration of a free-flowing 56-mile Silver-Ocklawaha River system to be accomplished by the long overdue breaching of Rodman Dam--its removal she also argues would restore the once world-famous, diversified, and robust fish population of Silver Springs itself.

There are probably others, however, that might remember the Erika Ritter of the late 1970's who was one of those charming snake-handling "cuties" with an instant camera at Silver Springs. Back then and for a small fee, Erika would snap a picture of a SMILING YOU holding or wrapped-up-by a colorful and sizeable boa constrictor snake. And occasionally this young "snake lady" herself was the subject for the photographs!

Before then in the 1960's to early 1970's, Erika even used to live-catch coral snakes ("Red Touch Yellow, Kill a Fellow; Red Touch Black, Good For Jack") on her family property and bring them to the legendary Ross Allen at Silver Springs for venom-milking.

Snakes have always seemed to fascinate Erika. Although sometimes a venomous snake has gotten too close for comfort--trying to enter the house or near small children playing--and had to be dispatched for safety's sake; most of the time Captain Erika carefully places a living coral snake, cottonmouth moccasin, pygmy or diamondback rattlesnake in a large ice-chest and relocates it to a remote part of her family's estate. And she takes lots of snake photographs, whether they are venomous (poisonous) or not!

Enjoy this Photo Memory Gallery!


Dad holding an Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

Erika holding an Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

Cottonmouth Water Moccasin (poisonous)

Cottonmouth Water Moccasin (poisonous)

Brown Water Snake (non-poisonous)

Pygmy Rattlesnake (poisonous)

Pygmy Rattlesnake (poisonous)

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake (poisonous)

The eastern diamondback rattlesnake is being studied by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the possibility of listing it as a

"Threatened" species under the Endangered Species Act.


A diamondback's rattles shake, don't go stepping on no cottonmouth snake!

REFERENCE AS: Nosca, P. 2015. "Snakes, Silver Springs and Captain Erika Ritter of the Ocklawaha River Valley, Florida" webpage report. "Paul Nosca's bass fishing photos" website. Paul Nosca, Eureka, FL.


Email: ocklawahaman1@gmail.com