Reptiles & Amphibians

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“Nature does nothing uselessly.” 

― Aristotle, Politics 


  • Cottonmouth

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    In Tennessee, there are 33 different species of snakes.  Only a few of them are venomous, one of which is the cottonmouth.  This curious snake has a triangular shaped head, elliptical pupils (like a cat) and a short, but thick, dark body.  When alarmed, the cottonmouth, also known as the water moccasin, will open his mouth very wide, showing the bright white tissue inside of its mouth.  Most snakes you encounter at Lake Isom and Reelfoot Lake are harmless, and only bite in self defense.  Treat all snakes with respect and view them from a safe distance. It is illegal to kill any snake in the state of Tennessee.

  • Eastern Box Turtle

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    The eastern box turtle is Tennessee's state reptile.  Its shell has a much higher dome than most other turtles you see in our area.  The box turtle is unique because its plastron, or underside of the shell, is hinged.  This enables the box turtle to completely enclose its head and legs, making it impossible for predators to reach it.  As with most turtles, the male has a slight concave depression in the center of the plastron.

  • Spring Peeper

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    When the air temperature begins to warm, the spring peepers begin to sing.  Most people recognize the call of the spring peeper as a signal that spring is approaching.  The familiar "Peep...peep...peep" is heard throughout the Lake Isom and Reelfoot Lake area.  Other frogs you may hear are the American bullfrog, southern chorus frog, northern cricket frogs, and the green and gray treefrogs.  You can identify frogs by sight, but also by sound!