Watauga Reserve Northern Copperhead

A Northern Copperhead, Agkistrodon Contortrix Mokasen, lies in the thick leaf litter of the Appalachian forest floor. Notice its perfect camouflage, and the copper hued head. It is really easy to walk right by a Copperhead, because they don't rattle. They will strike only as a last resort, and are not fatal unless you are bitten by multiple snakes. Their bite can be dangerous though, as one old mountain man answered my delicate question as to how he lost his legs: "Got snake bit". The Watauga Reserve, Upper Unakas, Cherokee National Forest, Western Blue Ridge Mountains, Johnson County, East Tennessee, USA. May 2010.


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Sarah Simon

Sarah Simon - May 11, 2010 10:17 am - Voted 10/10

Tics, poison ivy, copper heads...

...lawd have mercy, it's exciting hiking in the Southern Appalachians! I just spent the good part of a week on the AT in north Georgia, and we laughed the whole time about what a bunch of wussies we are in Colorado because we've "got it easy" in terms of creepy crawlies, poisonous plants and slithery things that can cause you to lose a limb.



winemanvan - May 11, 2010 1:33 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Tics, poison ivy, copper heads...

From now until October the Appalachians are teaming with life under a full canopy reminiscent of a rain forest. All the bugs, ticks, spiders, snakes, poison ivy, and bears disappear for six months, then the trees are bare, opening up the forest to light and cold winds. It is quite a contrast.


rdmc - May 11, 2010 10:53 am - Voted 10/10

I agree, Sarah...

We are so spoiled in CO.... I lived in Missouri for a few years, and you never knew what would slither through the grass...
.... then there were the big ugly spiders too.

I don't miss seeing these guys..

Nice photo!


winemanvan - May 11, 2010 1:34 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: I agree, Sarah...

many creatures under every leaf and rock. Thanks!


silversummit - May 11, 2010 10:57 pm - Voted 10/10


I've spent many a summer camp night sweeping spiders out of the tents of screaming Boy Scouts. (Did I mention some of the screamers were 14 year olds?)

And don't forget water snakes, bee stings, mosquitoes, horseflies, and ticks - all part of the wonderful hiking experience! Wouldn't trade most of it for anything.....


winemanvan - May 12, 2010 10:17 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Yup!

The worst are the no-see-ums. That's when I bring out the Ben's w/deet.

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