Venomous Snakes in Northern Georgia Jess Riddle
August 13, 2009


The snake pictures amongst the Cohutta photos seem to have generated
some interest, so I'll add a little more context for them.  When I
used to average four days a week hiking in the southern Appalachians,
I would typically see only one or two venomous snakes per year.  The
two I saw on this past trip matches my record for a one week period.
Of course, who knows how many I've walked past in huckleberry

In my experience, the venomous snakes in the Appalachians are not
aggressive.  If you don't mess with them, they won't mess with you.
The timber rattlesnake in the photograph never rattled even with five
people and a dog walking past it.  I've stepped within a foot of
rattlesnake without it moving and seen people step as close to
copperheads without provoking a reaction.  I'm sure there is some
variation from individual to individual, and I've certainly irritated
some rattlesnakes, so I didn't push my luck with the photographs and
used my camera's zoom from about five feet away.


Trail Guardian

Venom is energetically expensive to produce and has a high opportunity
cost in terms of catching prey.  Hence, relying on camouflage (see
copperhead photo), rattling, or dry biting improves snakes' chances of
long term survival and reproduction.


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