East Tennessee is home to 23 species of snakes, of these 23 species, only 2 are venomous. The two venomous species that reside in East TN are the Timber Rattlesnake and the Copperhead. Venomous snakes in East TN can be identified by the presence of heat sensing pits that are located behind the nostrils and elliptical pupils. The 21 nonvenomous snakes lack heat sensing pits and have round pupils. Cottonmouths, which are a venomous snake species found in Western TN, are NOT found in East TN, however this species is often misidentified and confused with the Northern Watersnake.
While snakes bites in the United States are rare and death by snake bite even rarer, no one wants to be a victim of a snake bite. Humans are not a natural prey for venomous snakes and when they strike it is usually out of defense. Click here for a list of snake bite prevention tips from the TN Herpetological Society.