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With the warm weather in West Tennessee, people and snakes are coming in contact with each other, but most of those snakes are harmless, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. Many people are afraid of snakes, but TWRA offers the following facts to keep things in perspective.

∑ On the average, about 50,000 people are bitten by snakes nationwide each year.

∑ Only 8,000 of these bites are from poisonous snakes.
∑ Of those people bitten, about 1,200 do not seek any medical attention and fully recover.
∑ About 12-15 people die from snake bites in the U.S. each year.
Compare that to the fact that:
∑ Approximately twice as many die from wasp and bee stings.
∑ About 100 die from being struck by lightning.

Only 3 to 4 people die in the U.S. from the bite of snakes similar to those we have in Tennessee and in the past 40 years there have only been 7 recorded deaths from snake bites in this state.

The TWRA recommends that if you are in the woods, watch where you put your hands and where you step, especially when climbing over fallen logs. Most bites occur on hands, arms, feet and legs. Donít lift stones from rock piles or turn over logs.

If you are outdoors and see a snake, simply leave it alone. Most of these reptiles want to avoid you too and will try to escape if they can. Besides, it is illegal in Tennessee to kill a snake and they are important in the control of rats and small mammals.

If you are bitten, stay calm. Remember, a bite from a poisonous snake is painful but treatable, so do seek medical attention. Do not try to treat the victim with ice, tourniquets or cutting into the wound to draw out the poison. Those old - fashioned remedies are not effective and can do more harm than good. Just get to professional medical help as calmly and quickly as possible.

Tennessee is home to over forty species of snakes, only four of which are poisonous. The southern copperhead lives predominantly in the southwestern section of the state; the northern copperhead throughout the rest of the state. The timber rattlesnake can be found all over the state. Tennesseeís pygmy rattler lives primarily in the counties along Kentucky Lake. The cottonmouth water moccasin is found in the wet areas in the western half of the state.

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