Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 10

C R E AT U R E F E AT U R E

By NANCY HENDERSON

SNAKES
on a Trail

Are reptilian encounters on the rise?

SNAKE HANDLING
The copperhead is
the most common
venomous snake in
the mountains.

10

BLUERIDGECOUNTRY.COM

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency biologist and surveys manager Chris Ogle offers these tips on dealing
with snakes:
If you hike in the woods
* Be able to identify venomous
snakes, which are typically thickbodied with triangular heads.
Timber rattlers sport distinctive
markings and copperheads have
"Hershey Kiss" saddles on their
backs.
* Wear the right shoes-ideally
boots that cover your ankles.
* "Even more [important]," says
Ogle, "is situational awareness,
a term in the law enforcement
world. Be aware of your surroundings. When you're hiking,
look down at the trail and pay
attention."

If a snake crosses your path
* Leave it alone. "I have seen
people use larger sticks to shoo
the snake away," Ogle says.
"Sometimes that works and
sometimes that snake will coil
up and be more defensive and
more likely to bite. It would've
been better for you to make a
circuitous path around it."
* Keep an eye on it as you move
away, just in case.
* Don't try to harm it unless you
need to defend yourself. In some
states, it is actually illegal to kill
a snake.

If you do get bitten
* Try to remain calm. "It's difficult in a situation like that," Ogle
admits. "But the less amount of
blood flow you have, the less the
venom is going to get to other
places."
* Don't try to suck out the poison or apply a tourniquet.
* Get to a hospital as quickly as
possible, especially if the snake
is a timber rattler. Dehydrated
anti-venom must be activated, so
call ahead. "Time equals tissue,"
Ogle says. "The more time it
takes, the more tissue you lose
because that's what the venom is
going after."


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Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020

Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 3
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 4
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 5
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 6
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Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - BPG 32
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Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - Cover4
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