The warm temperatures and long daylight hours have people spending more time outside. But other members of the animal kingdom love summer, too, like snakes.
There are 24 types of snakes across East Tennessee. Most of them can be found in the Chattanooga area, but only two of them are venomous.
"Timber Rattlesnakes are probably the easier of the two to identify because of the rattle and a pretty distinctive head shape and patterning," says David Hedrick, a reptile expert at the Chattanooga Zoo.
The other venomous kind is the Copperhead which Hedrick says is more common here.
"They have an orange-brown coloration and an hourglass shaped pattern across the top of their back," adds Hedrick.
It can be scary suddenly running across one of these creatures while taking a stroll or a jog, but Hedrick says when these snakes attack it's almost always in self-defense.
"When people are bitten by venomous snakes, 99% of the time it's because someone is bothering the snake," says Hedrick.
Don't mess with them and they probably won't mess with you. Trying to kill one or picking up one after you think you've killed it could result in a trip to the hospital.
Copperheads and Timber Rattlers spend a lot of time in the woods. So when you spend time outside make sure you stay away from the edges of walking and running trails. If you see a snake, stand still until it slithers away, or slowly walk in a very wide path around it. Also, don't overturn any objects. These snakes like to hide under large rocks and tree limbs.
"They play a vital role in controlling rodent populations and, kind of by proxy, controlling the tick populations," says Hedrick.
While snakes play an important part in our world, you still might not want them hanging around your home. To keep them away, keep your lawns tidy.
"Keep your grass mowed and not have large piles of clutter and trash," suggests Hedrick.
If you get bitten by a venomous snake, stay calm to keep your heart rate down. Clean the wound as best as you can and remove any jewelry because of swelling that will occur. Then seek medical attention as soon as possible.
For more information about these and other snakes in Tennessee, visit this TWRA web site.
Wednesday, August 23 2017 11:49 PM EDT2017-08-24 03:49:44 GMT
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