KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Tennessee Valley Authority is reminding East Tennesseans that it’s baby copperhead snake season as people embark into the woods or work on their yards while enjoying the cooler weather. The snake species is venomous.
The TVA said Wednesday that from now through November, it is baby copperhead snake season, and if you are hiking or walking to be sure to look carefully where you step or place your hands. Baby copperheads are small, blend very well into fallen foliage and they like to hang out in damp places like logs on the trail…. and even flowerpots in residential yards.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency reports more than 20 species of snakes can be found in Tennessee. The copperhead is one of four venomous snakes in Tennessee and the pit viper can be found in all parts of the Volunteer State. The TWRA also says the copperhead generally prefers forested habitat and avoids open areas such as pastures and agricultural fields; instead, it is often found on rocky, wooded hillsides with abundant logs, leaf litter, or rocks for cover. Copperheads can also be found in urban and suburban environments, as well as near wetland and stream edges.
Copperheads like to eat mice, small birds, lizards, snakes, amphibians and insects – especially cicadas.
While wildlife officials say copperhead venom is not very potent and fatalities from its bite are extremely rare, venomous snake bites also have the potential to cause severe tissue damage. Health officials have shared that snake bites can cause severe burning pain at the site, rapid swelling, discoloration or blood-filled blisters after 6 to 10 hours. In severe cases nausea, vomiting, sweating, trouble breathing and weakness are possible.
Health officials also advise that if you’re bitten by a venomous snake, here are a few things to remember:
- Do not try to capture the snake for identification
- Get away from the snake; it can bite again
- Try to keep quiet and calm
- Limiting activity can help prevent the spread of venom through the bloodstream
- Antivenom needs to be given within the first few hours of a venomous snake bite.
- Don’t try to determine on your own if the snake is poisonous. Leave that to the medical professionals.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated.