How do you know if it is a venomous snake? All of Tennessee's venomous snakes are part of the pit viper family and can be easily identified by the following traits they all share:
-> Their head shape is triangular as compared to a more oval head in the non-venomous snake.
-> They have an elliptical pupil (like a cat) and a non-venomous one has a round one (button eyes).
-> They have a heat-sensing pit between the eyes and the nostrils, non-venomous snakes do not have a pit.
Areas around your home that are considered attractive for snakes are:
- Firewood stacked directly on the ground or old lumber piles
- Junk piles
- Flower beds with heavy mulch and shrubbery growing alongside the house
- Basements, especially when cluttered with household items
- Barn lofts, especially where feed is stored, attracting rodents
- Attics in houses where there is a bird, rodent or bat problem
- Stream and pond banks
- Unmowed lawns and abandoned lots and fields
It's important to keep in mind that even if a snake is not poisonous, they can still bite if they feel the need to protect themselves. So, although they are very beneficial to have around in the sense that they can keep the population of some unwanted critters at bay (think rodents for example), please treat any snake you encounter with respect.
In Tennessee, it is illegal to harm, kill, remove from the wild, or possess native snakes taken from the wild without the proper permits. Please help the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency to protect our native snakes.