Courtesy of Raymond Little
There are only two species of venomous snakes in our area. The Northern Copperhead and the Timber Rattlesnake. Snakes want nothing to do with people and only bite when they are being injured (Stepped on or grabbed as an example) or when they feel threatened and scared.
While in the outdoors always be alert and aware of your surroundings. This will help you recognize trip hazards as well as with spotting wildlife. Avoid wearing foot wear that doesn’t protect your feet such as flip flops and sandals. Before stepping over logs or rocks look on the other side. Never place you hands or feet where you can’t see. When hiking after dark always use a flashlight. Many snakes are active at night during the summer.
If you see a snake while hiking, stop and observe the snake. Check your surroundings for other snakes you may not have seen. If you are curious about it’s identity, take a photograph at a safe distance and show it later to an expert. Do not attempt to catch or kill the snake. Many snakebites occur when people attempt to kill or catch snakes. Walk around the snake giving it plenty of space and go on about your day.
A good online source for quick identifications is the Facebook Group “Snake Identification”. Admire snakes as part of nature and realize they serve a very important roll. It is illegal to catch or kill snakes in the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. In the state of Tennessee, all native snakes are protected regardless of land ownership.
Enjoy your time outdoors and remember, venomous snakebite is a rare occurrence and you are thousands times more likely to be injured in a car accident, struck by lightning, or attacked by the family dog.