NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is asking anyone who spots a pygmy rattlesnake in the wild to snap a pic. The TWRA is assisting wildlife biologists at Tennessee State University in research to determine how the threatened species is distributed across the state.
The research will help conservation efforts. Pygmy rattlesnakes are predators that are rarely encountered and play important ecological roles, including the control of rodent populations. These tiny snakes will rattle their tails when threatened, but bites are extremely rare and non-fatal if treatment is administered.
The snakes are seldom seen by humans.
For more information about this native Tennessee snake, including descriptions and photos, go online to bit.ly/PygmyRattlesnake.
Those who spot one of these creatures are asked to snap a picture with their smartphone’s GPS location turned on. (For an iPhone, this setting is in Settings/Privacy. Other phones or cameras will have similar settings.) This will provide GPS coordinates of the photo to document the exact location.
Previous pygmy rattlesnake sightings, along with photographs, can also be reported with specific location data and the date of the sighting. Persons are reminded not to harass or attempt to capture the snakes. The TWRA does not want anyone to endanger themselves.
Pygmy rattlesnake sightings and information may be reported to one of the following biologists: Shawn Snyder, email@example.com or (717) 683-4226; or Dr. Bill Sutton, firstname.lastname@example.org or (615) 963-7787.
Funding for the project is being provided by the TWRA through state and tribal wildlife grants.