View Full Version : Y'all be careful out there...

David Knapp
05-08-2007, 05:40 PM
Saw these snakes over on LR :eek:...non-poisonous but they can be grouchy...


Byron Begley
05-08-2007, 05:47 PM
They can be grouchy. I found one in the spring creek behind my house with a small young of the year rainbow trout in his mouth. I pestered him until he released the trout. Then he came after me. He was mad! Ran me out of the creek. I was wet wading at the time.


05-08-2007, 05:54 PM
One of the most vivid memories I have from childhood is a time when my parents were house-hunting. They were looking at this one house, and there was a canal in the back. I took a look, and there was a good sized cottonmouth, with a pretty good sized goggle-eyed bream in his mouth. I figured the fishing must be good there. My parents bought the house, and my mom still lives there. I spent my springs and summers fishing out back, or in other canals, or the bayou they all flowed in to. Now, there are houses standing where I used to go fishing.

05-08-2007, 05:56 PM
David... Can you be a little more specific with your location? I've been on LR a lot lately and saw a few snakes, but a bundle like this would be pretty scary. Maybe another reason to carry a wading stick... (with a machete on the end of it ;) ) I'm sure ijsouth could make a good stew out of these varmits!

05-08-2007, 06:43 PM
I'm generally not to frightened by snakes but geez! a whole bunch of 'em like that, that's a little creepy. what are they doing, having a party?

05-08-2007, 06:45 PM
I think you see them like that when they're emerging from their dens in the Spring. However, I've seen balls of cottonmouths like that up in cypress trees when it wasn't near Spring, or Winter.

David Knapp
05-08-2007, 07:04 PM
David... Can you be a little more specific with your location?

Crusher Pool...and to think of all the times I've walked along that rock wall while fishing...:eek:

I would highly recommend that everyone cease fishing that pool immediately. I'll risk the danger and fish it occasionally to make sure the fish are doing okay...:rolleyes:

From what I've heard, I think they are breeding when they are in a ball like that...

05-08-2007, 07:19 PM
we passed a literal ball of garter snakes....I would say 4 anyway, if the heads weren't sticking out I could haved rolled it. I think its a mating thing.

05-08-2007, 07:41 PM
This post leads me to ask a question, since I'm curios as usual. In TN state law protects all reptiles. I.e. you can't harm or do anything to a reptile since they are protected species. I'm all for that and I won't bother them. My question is this. If I have a nuisance snake on my property what's my legal right? The snake is on my property but the state declares the reptile protected. Info anyone?

On another note, since the national park is federal land federal laws come in to place and inside the park you are not allowed to disturb or do anything to wildlife anyways. I'm just curious about the situation on private land in TN in general. I'm trying to settle an argument at work over this.

05-08-2007, 08:08 PM
ALL reptiles are protected in Tennessee? Down here, people tend to kill snakes on sight (which is unfortunate, since most of them are harmless). Anyway, I've never heard of such a sweeping law. There would be a lot of cajuns behind bars if there was a law like that in Louisiana.

05-08-2007, 08:13 PM
There is a pretty little girl banded water snake in there somewhere causing all that commotion:biggrin: I always get a kick out of how many people think these banded watersnakes are copperheads:eek: They may not be poisonous, but they can be agressive and they have a nasty habit of bitting given the chance. The bite they deliver contains some kind of anticoagulant. It will just bleed and bleed....................................don't ask:p

05-08-2007, 08:37 PM
When I was a kid in Pennsylvania, it was common for people to carry a 22 pistol when they went fly fishing just in case they happened to run across the wrong type of snake.

Flying Trout
05-08-2007, 08:37 PM
IJ, I believe it is not really a sweeping protection law more than a non hunting season for the snakes. Pretty much the same thing, but if you were protecting yourself from said serpent I believe that nobody says anything.

05-08-2007, 10:04 PM
You know, it may very well be that Louisiana has similar laws, but no one knows about them...I'll have to look it up. Until very recently, you couldn't just kill nutria out in the marsh, even though they are incredibly destructive pests. You could only kill them if you were either a licensed trapper, or if you owned waterfront property and they were destroying your shoreline. Now, there's a bounty on them, which was way overdue; they destroy the marsh grasses, and the only predatory threat they face (other than us) are gators.

I have to admit those water snakes are very similar-looking to cottonmouths; from a distance, you wouldn't be able to distinguish them. Of course, there are no cottonmouths in the Smokies, but we have the same water snakes down here; most people down here just assume the snake is poisonous, and out comes the shovel or other garden implement.

05-09-2007, 09:58 AM
As a few people mentioned, In Tennessee it is illegal to harm, kill, remove from the wild, or possess native snakes taken from the wild without the proper permits

However, state law does have the following provision:

70-4-115. Destruction and disposal of wildlife Permit Penalty.
(a) The owner of lands may destroy any wild animals, wild birds, or wild fowl when such wild animals, wild birds, or wild fowl are destroying property upon such lands. Any person, before destroying any big game under the conditions provided for in this section, is required to obtain a permit for destroying such big game. Such permit shall be issued by an officer of the wildlife resources agency.

It looks like if you were challenged in court, you may have prove it was nuisance and/or destroying property, but I think you would are free to dispose of them if you feel they are destructive.

Interesting info on snakes: http://frogsandsnakes.homestead.com/snakes.html

05-09-2007, 10:05 AM
Thank you that's what I thought. TN is really progressive on this subject


05-09-2007, 01:58 PM

Thanks for posting this most helpful link. Before now, I may have been one of those people that might identify several snakes as "Copperheads." :eek:

It's also comforting to note Tennessee's Venomous to Non-Venomous ratio


05-09-2007, 02:52 PM
WOW, What a sight. I aviod snakes at all cost. I saw one last summer at Elkmont, Six foot long and as wide a my arm. Was getting ready to step out of my car and he can right out from from under and across the road rattling all the way.

05-10-2007, 08:41 PM
More than likely those snakes had "other" things on their minds (what little minds they have.) There was probably one big female and the rest were males battling for the rights. Usually they are oblivious to everything else when they are in mating balls, but you never know. Back in the day I used to breed our no-legged friends. However, I do have a healthy respect for our venomous friends- no tail grabbing by this guy! To me they are very interesting and dare I say "beautiful." I guess I know the real reason I am not hitched yet!

05-10-2007, 09:40 PM
supafly...keep playing with snakes and you will be richer and happier.

Paula Begley
05-10-2007, 10:00 PM
supafly...keep playing with snakes and you will be richer and happier.
:p :p :p :p :p

HAHAHA! :biggrin:


05-11-2007, 10:49 AM
I hate snakes---that pic gave me the heebie-jeebies

05-11-2007, 01:57 PM
You remind me of a good friend of mine. According to him he can instantly ID any snake known to man. When I ask him how he could make such a claim he said it was easy. There are actually only two types of snakes in the entire world, dead ones and live ones.:biggrin: I though he was going to kill me one time when I touched his ankle with my rod tip and yelled snake while walking thru some tall grass.:biggrin:

David Knapp
05-11-2007, 11:50 PM
:biggrin: I though he was going to kill me one time when I touched his ankle with my rod tip and yelled snake while walking thru some tall grass.:biggrin:

Too funny...:biggrin: I claim to not be afraid of snakes but I'm pretty sure that would have got me covering some ground....:rolleyes:

05-12-2007, 06:42 AM
Yeah jsouth their would be a lot of Ms. rednecks behind bars also. I have to tell you a snake story that came to mind when reading this post. It wasn't around the fishing hole. It was in the hay meadow. We had some school age kids loading the square bales on the trailer. I heard one of them yell real loud and looked around to see him throw the bale down and run. I guess we had picked up a King snake while we were baling the hay and just his head was sticking out the side of the bale. When he picked it up he was looking face to face with the snake. He was dead but it sure scared that kid. He was looking closely at the bales the rest of the day.

05-12-2007, 12:10 PM
The head of that one snake sure as the characteristics of a Viper. Anyobody know the exact species of these snakes?

05-12-2007, 12:10 PM
In Tennessee it is illegal to harm, kill, remove from the wild or possess native lizards taken from the wild without a valid permit.

Please help the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) protect our native lizards. Do not remove native lizards from the wild or release captive lizards into the wild. Captive lizards often do not do well when released into the wild and can introduce harmful disease and parasites into wild populations.

I did A google search and this is all I found.

05-12-2007, 01:02 PM
I agree with the original poster...these are nonpisonous snakes...the diamond head on the copper heads and cottom mouth snakes I've seen has been pretty definate.

David Knapp
05-12-2007, 02:03 PM
I'm definitely not positive because there are several species of water snake but I believe these are northern water snakes. Compare the water snakes to these copperheads. Notice the more prominent triangular head and also the poisonous snakes tend (NOT ALWAYS) to be fatter for their length. Gotta be careful with the copperheads as their colors will mimic the environment they live in. The brighter one lived in a combination wooded/grassland environment and the grayish colored one lived around a waterfall where the rocks were all gray.



05-12-2007, 03:58 PM
I believe these are northern water snakes.

Yep, i believe you're right.

05-12-2007, 04:07 PM
I was always told that pit vipers, copperheads, cotton mouths, rattlers etc, did not hang around streams. The sound of the running water keeps them away. I have seen plenty of snakes on and in the fallen trees around the streams. Never stayed around long enough to see whether or not they were poisonious. Maybe I'm just parinoid, or just getting old and losing may hearing, but every now and then, especialy on tight stream with lots of fallen timber I swear I hear rattlin noises.

05-13-2007, 11:44 AM
That appears to be either a Diamondback watersnake or a common water snake as it is called. More than likely it is a mother with her young from this springs hatch catching a few rays on a warm rock. I bet her den was not too far from the rock she is sitting on. Harmless, but very common snake in the park.

05-13-2007, 10:02 PM
Those are definitely Northern water snakes (Nerodia sipedon sipedon), and they are copulating in the photo.

These snakes do not lay eggs. They give live birth and do not care for their young. Unlikely to be a Diamondback water snake as they do not inhabit this part of the state.

Northerns are non-poisonous...but aggressive with a nasty bite if bothered. I see these, along with Queen snakes (completely harmless), very frequently in streams.

05-13-2007, 10:22 PM
Good call. Found another "sighting". Check this out.


About 3/4 down the page is a pic from Elkmont Campground.

05-13-2007, 10:34 PM
Good call. Found another "sighting". Check this out.


About 3/4 down the page is a pic from Elkmont Campground.

Oh yeah! In the Elkmont photo....it's easy to see how these are sometimes mistaken for the Northern Copperhead.

05-14-2007, 08:54 AM
I saw a similar mess of snakes on the Davidson once. In fact it was in the brush that was right beside the observation deck by the hatchery. Looked like 5-6 snakes wrapped up together taking in some sun that was going through a bare spot in the brush. The next time I visited the Davidson there, that same area of brush had been removed and it was just a cleared area with rocks.

I haven't fished the LR that much, but I have seen northern water snakes every single time I have fished there. For some reason they must be used to anglers, because they don't always seem to take off for cover like most water snakes. I have seen some on Bradley Fork that slide off a rock or fallen timber when I'm still 20-25 ft away. Not sure why this would be.

Byron Begley
05-14-2007, 10:32 AM

Welcome to the board. You are member #900. Good name too. I've parked there and dropped some money in the box several times.


05-14-2007, 11:03 AM
Like to see'um. Like to photograph'm.....but I HATE being surprised by them!

I'd have to visit Byron for new wader's!!!!

05-15-2007, 10:35 PM
I'm not much of snake person so maybe someone can tell me what I saw at the Glory Hole on Monday. Its main distingushing feature was light/white colored horizontal banding. I was tying on a fly and he just swam right by heading down stream. He didn't seem too interested in me and I had no interest in anything, but seeing him disappear down stream. Since then I have been watching my step around the rocks and high grass.