In Tennessee, most snakebites occur between the months of April and October when the weather warms up and more people are out of doors. The snake responsible for the most bites in Tennessee is the copperhead, a snake with a comparatively mild venom.  The other venomous snakes native to Tennessee are the cottonmouth, timber rattlesnake and pigmy rattlesnake.  Please refer to the web page Venomous or Not?  to learn more about these fascinating and beneficial creatures.

Snakebite is extremely rare in the United States. And death from snakebite in the U.S. is even rarer. Of the 50,000 deaths that occur worldwide each year, only about 12-15 of those occur in the U.S. The top five states in which you are most likely to die from snakebite are Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Texas and Alabama.  All of these states have species which are more lethal than those found in Tennessee.


  • 8,000-10,000 snakebites are reported annually in the United States.

  • Only 12-15 deaths occur each year in the United States, putting your chances of survival at roughly 499 out 500.

  • Approximately 3000 of these bites are classed as illegitimate, meaning the victim was handling or molesting the snake when the bite occurred.  See Prevention of Snakebite.

  • 85% of bites are below the knee.  See Prevention of Snakebite.

  • 50% of bites are ‘dry’ bites where the snake has not injected any venom.  Snakes can control the amount of venom they inject. They need their venom to subdue prey,  and they do not prey upon humans.  In fact, it is the humans who prey upon the snakes.


    Copperhead venom is comparatively mild and deaths from copperhead bites extremely rare and is usually brought on by pre-existing medical conditions. Photo by Lisa Powers