What are the most common snakes in the Tri-Cities region?


KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL)- In our part of the country, two of the most prevalent venomous snakes we have to worry about are the timber rattlesnake and copperhead, according to Naturalist Rhonda Goins at Bays Mountain Park.

Timber rattlesnake
Copperhead snake

How do you identify a venomous snake?

The tell-tale sign is in the head.

“They do always have triangular shaped heads and two extra holes on their face, because they’re pit vipers.”

Goins also says there’s a big misconception about snakes.

“Every time people see a patterned snake, they think it’s a rattlesnake or a copperhead, which probably 99 percent [of the time] it’s not,” she explained.

Corn snakes, for instance, are commonly found in our farming communities. They’re harmless though. They are orange with reddish-orange blemishes down the back.

Corn snake

What are the most common types of non-venomous snakes in the region?

Two of the most common non-venomous snakes in our area are black snakes and garter snakes.

Black king snake

“Garter snakes [have] three stripes down the back, and they’re kinda aggravated and highly agitated. They just don’t like to be touched,” Goins said. “But they just eat the bugs.”

Baby garter snake

Goins also says black snakes and garter snakes help control the rodent population.

There are a few places you may notice them around your home.

“They like to be in tall grasses of course because they can hide better. They like to be in wood piles,” she explained.

Experts say if you see a snake, leave it alone. Most likely, they’re more scared of you than you are of them.

To learn more about the difference between venomous and non-venomous snakes, Bays Mountain has more information here.

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