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More snakes can emerge across East Tennessee as summer slithers closer

As summer gets near, more people may start wonder about what they should do if they see a snake.

TENNESSEE, USA — Summer is getting closer. For many people, that means more time spent outside, enjoying the sun and all the world has to offer. Part of what the world has to offer could include snakes, though.

More snakes are expected to slither out as summer gets closer, causing many people to worry about what they should do if they see one. Experts said the answer is simple — leave the snakes alone.

Zoo Knoxville said that most snake bites happen when they are being agitated by a person. There are two kinds of venomous snakes in East Tennessee: timber rattlesnakes and copperheads. They're easy to distinguish from harmless species like garden snakes.

"Those are the only two you are dealing with, so if you can identify those species, and they are really easy to do, you can eliminate everything else as venomous in East Tennessee," said Phil Colclough, Director of Animal Care at Zoo Knoxville.

Copperheads have large, triangular heads that are usually coppery-red. They also have a distinctive brown coloration with hourglass-shaped crossbands along the center of their backs. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency said their venom is not potent, and fatalities from it are rare.

Timber Rattlesnakes are easily identified by the rattle at the end of their tails. They also have a large, triangular head with vertical pupils. However, their coloration can vary. Usually, they are gray with a black tail. Other colors can include yellow, tan, brown, pink, dark brown or black.

They have black chevron-shaped crossbands throughout their bodies, and typically have a rust-colored stripe down the center of their backs.

And if someone is bit by a snake over the summer, regardless of the species, they should go to the hospital immediately.

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