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Snake Sightings Increase Across UC

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader

Watch your step while tending your gardens and mowing the grass, as snake sightings have increased across the Upper Cumberland.

White County Ag Extension Agent Scott Swoape said snakes are cold-blooded and search for cool or damp areas. Areas like crawl spaces, flower gardens,wood piles and ponds are the most common habitats for snakes.

“Everybody gets the image that they are going to see these snakes out in the sun and get warm,” Swoape said. “But actually, in the heat of the day they are looking to get under a rock or under a log.”

Swoape said Tennessee has 44 species of snakes with only five being venomous. All venomous snakes in Tennessee are pit vipers. Pit vipers can be identified by the pit between the eyes, the scales on the bottom of the body and their pupils are vertically egg shaped. Swoape said to use extreme caution when identifying if a snake is harmful or not.

“The other 39 are completely harmless and provide us a service,” Swoape said. “All snakes are predators. Their diets are primarily rodents, and they are very helpful in containing the number of rodents.”

The venomous snakes of Tennessee include pygmy rattlesnakes, timber rattlesnakes, southern and northern copperheads and western cottonmouths. Swoape said to give snakes space and leave the area when crossing one.

Swoape said snakes are actually more active at night.


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