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christopher 04-22-2006 10:11 PM

I was wondering about the snakes in the rivers in GSMNP. A couple of weeks ago I was fishing in the Tremont area when I looked down at my feet and a 3ft snake went by my leg. I was just curious if any reports on snake bites in the river. I have always wondered about them. Im from a small town and know about most of the snakes in the ares. I never really thought about them while wading ,but it kinda hurt my nerves a little and put a stop almost to my fishing that day. Any info would be great...Thanks.

David Knapp 04-22-2006 10:50 PM

Re: Snakes
There are a lot of harmless water snakes in the Smokies. They are generally not a problem at all but they can scare you really good. I don't know how many times I've stepped over them. Just last weekend I saw the first of the season up above Elkmont. It is usually a scary moment while I'm getting to a healthy distance. There are copperheads and the occassional rattlesnake in the Smokies also. These are the ones that you have to watch out for. Just be careful and watch where you are going and you should be fine.

sustratiotes 04-23-2006 07:34 PM

Re: Snakes
Some interesting information on snakes at:

Some highlights:

In the US: Snakebites frequently go unreported. Approximately 4000-7000 bites are reported to national centers each year. North Carolina has the highest frequency, with 19 bites per 100,000 persons. The national average is approximately 4 bites per 100,000 persons.

Deaths secondary to snake bites are rare. With the proper use of antivenin, they are becoming rarer still. The national average has been less than 4 deaths per year for the last several years.

Data gathered in a 5-year retrospective chart review from the University of Tennessee Medical Center at Knoxville (UTMCK), a level-I trauma center, focused on 25 bites. Of these, 4 required fasciotomy and 2 subsequently needed split-thickness skin grafting. The average length of stay was 3.2 days. No deaths occurred, and morbidity was limited to the local wounds.

I'm actually more concerned about the 'aviators with armament' - bees and wasps, than the snakes. I've found I can get away from the snakes easier than the aviators. Also, I've been stung several times, but never bitten. ymmv


Rog 1 04-24-2006 09:01 AM

Re: Snakes
I have had the opportunity to observe just about every kind of snake there is in the mountains without incident. Weirdest moment occured while fishing one early October with a friend up on Greenbrier....watched my buddy doing the snake dance while wading upstream....instead of the normal banded water snake I had come to expect it was a 3-4 foot timber rattler cruising down the middle of the river looking to come ashore about where by buddy was located....really was a surprise and we were seeing snakes everywhere for the rest of the bet is just to keep your eyes open.

russ 04-24-2006 12:12 PM

Re: Snakes
Endless you're a yankee you don't have to worry about the snakes ;D. We train all of them to attack yankees though ;)

christopher 04-24-2006 12:36 PM

Re: Snakes
Well I appreciate the comments on the snakes. I know ive done the water snake dance a few times this year. After a few mins out of the water, im back in. It just gets my nerves a little watching a snake looking back at me. Most of them uasually leave the area when I do.Oh yea, Russ, Im not a yankee, I was born and bred here in the great state of Tennessee :P

russ 04-24-2006 01:27 PM

Re: Snakes
I figured you were not a yankee because you didn't say you had been bit ;D

moflyer3 04-24-2006 03:00 PM

Re: Snakes
Seen the largest copperhead Ive ever seen anywhere on the trail between CC and Abrams Falls. He was blending in well with the surroundings too. I am very glad i didnt step on him.

yellowsulphur29 04-24-2006 07:05 PM

Re: Snakes
I for one hate to hike the back country by myself due primarily to snakes and the possibility of getting bit. I did not have a fear nor did I worry as much about it until the spring of 2003. I went hiking to Abrams falls with my fiance and I never saw one snake in the water or the trees the entire time. Once we arrived back at the parking area we decided to take some photographs of the newborn deer and foxes that were in the wheatfield just outside the parking lot. No more than 20 feet from where we stood, while setting up our tripod, I heard a bloodcurdling scream from behind me. A woman from Maryville was just bitten by a 5 foot timber rattler. I saw the snake moving quickly in my direction to get away and now I had to contend with a vicious scared snake and a girlfriend that was on my shoulders at this point. I threw a rock or two in the direction of the snake and it ran further into the wheat field out of sight. I made my way back to the parking area but I could not get this sickening feeling out of the pit of my stomach that there could be more snakes in that same area and I couldn't see anything for the tall wheat. While I thought the worst was over, I discovered another problem with accidents such as this and Cades Cove.....traffic! It took us almost 45 minutes to get the woman from Abrams parking lot to the exit via the loop. I took turns with some other people running ahead of the vehicle shouting "snake bite move off the road". You do not realize how dangerous that one lane road can be until you have an emergency such as this and no way for two vehicles to get side by side. Not to mention most vehicles had stopped for people to take pictures of bear and dear in the fields so a lot of the cars were empty blocking the cove loop road. According to the paper, the woman survived after hospital care, but I have never gotten the nerve back to venture around Abrams again. As a child I used to go there often and I still remember watching a water snake swim from one side of the river to the other. All I can remember about that thing was that it seemed like it was half the length of the river and about the size of a grapefruit in girth. Needless to say I did not stick around to see the head.

Tellicohomes 05-07-2006 06:25 PM

Re: Snakes
I have had a snake actually strike a fly once. It curled up in the air and dug under a rock. Luckily the fly line broke or I might have left the rod there....hehe

I have also looked down before stepping and saw a river snake right where I was about to step.. After dancing it took me about 10 minutes to get back in the water.....

Both of these times it was in shallow water in the late summer....

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