I realized that I explained previously how close the cottonmouth was to the path, but I didn't show any visuals. Here it is. The snake was within a couple of feet of the fence. You can see how close that is to the path that all the animals walk on every day.
Including my favorite fisherman...in his favorite fishing spot.
The neighbor's grandchildren were also playing in the area on the other side of the fence a few weeks ago. Yikes.