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Old 09-05-2007, 01:25 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Piney Flats, TN
423 posts, read 1,233,181 times
Reputation: 259

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Hi everyone. We're new to Piney Flats, just north of Johnson City. Our married children live in the area (western NC and Piney Flats, TN) so we will be heading down permanently from Ohio to Piney Flats next year. We've found that the people are much like those here in Ohio...friendly, loving and caring. But the critters are another thing. I've seen one copperhead on our land so far. And a spider that was too big for words. We see deer, flocks of turkeys, and sundry other wildlife, including coyotes. But the one thing that really gave me a start was when my husband was up on a ridge cutting limbs off a tree at late dusk and saw a big dark shape moving slowly. Bear??? I love all critters, but with two little twin grandchildren, I'm just a bit concerned. We see coyotes here in Ohio, but it's a whole new ballgame down in TN with dangerous, venomous critters. Anyone have any advice regarding life in the mountains and safety with children? My hubby and I, our daughter and her husband, and our son and his wife and twin boys will all be building on our land in the next year or two. EXCITED!! But also cautious! Any advice or info on safety in the mountains will be appreciated! Bonnie
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Old 09-05-2007, 05:58 PM
 
Location: Kingsport, TN
1,697 posts, read 5,715,259 times
Reputation: 1728
Honestly, you have very little to worry about it when it comes to dangerous wildlife in Northeast TN. I've known more people who've been bitten by squirrels than by any other wild species of animal. Yes, black bears do live here but are rarely seen, and they've never harmed anyone in this area (at least not in the past century). Same goes for coyotes, even though they can be death on cats.

There are only two species of venomous snakes in E. TN: the timber rattlesnake & the Northern copperhead. I've spent much of my life hiking in this area, and have never seen a rattler and only one copperhead. Education is the key: young kids need to be taught to respect & stay away from all snakes in the wild since few young'ns can readily tell a venomous species from a nonvenomous one. But I've always loved snakes & kept them as pets as a child, much to my mom's chagrin.

The spider you saw was almost certainly a harmless wolf spider, which is found all over the US. We have two venomous spider species in E. TN: black widows (indigenous) & brown recluses (introduced). Black widows are common but easily identified; even their webs are easy to identify. Learning what they look like & knowing their preferred habitats are good first steps in avoiding them. I've seen hundreds and even used to keep 'em in jars as a kid, but have never been close to being bitten. Brown recluses have moved into the area in recent years w/ transplants from other parts of the US, but they're shy spiders that you'll likely never experience. Still, I always step on the toes of any pair of shoes I haven't worn in a while, just in case.

As for species to be prudently cautious -- though not paranoid -- about, there's probably nothing here that you're unfamiliar with: wasps (e.g., paper wasps, yellow jackets, and velvet ants) bumblebees, honeybees, mosquitoes, horseflies, occasional rabid raccoons & skunks (as common sense would suggest, just tell your grandkids to steer clear of both species), and vicious dogs. The few truly mean dogs I've encountered while walking or biking on backroads are the only E. TN critters that've ever made me the least bit fearful.

To put this into some perspective, keep in mind that the local fauna is much less of a genuine danger to you & yours than lightning (not that lightning's especially prevalent here; it isn't). And even in East Tennessee, trampoline injuries & bike accidents result in many times more children's ER visits than snake/spider/insect bites/stings or attacks from wild animals.

If you have any other specific questions or concerns, just holler! And congrats on deciding to make the move to a wonderful part of the country.

Last edited by kamoshika; 09-05-2007 at 06:14 PM..
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Old 09-10-2007, 06:47 PM
 
Location: Tri-Cities area, Tennessee
359 posts, read 1,455,959 times
Reputation: 95
I agree with everything kamo said.

I've been here since 1983 and have never had a problem. Well, I guess I did have one spider bite once.

I'm very surprised there was a bear in the Piney Flats area. I guess the drought is leading them further out than normal. You sure it wasn't sasquatch .... just kidding.
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Old 09-11-2007, 08:09 AM
 
Location: Cumberland Cove, Monterey, TN
1,268 posts, read 3,954,844 times
Reputation: 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by kamoshika View Post
Honestly, you have very little to worry about it when it comes to dangerous wildlife in Northeast TN. I've known more people who've been bitten by squirrels than by any other wild species of animal. Yes, black bears do live here but are rarely seen, and they've never harmed anyone in this area (at least not in the past century). Same goes for coyotes, even though they can be death on cats.

There are only two species of venomous snakes in E. TN: the timber rattlesnake & the Northern copperhead. I've spent much of my life hiking in this area, and have never seen a rattler and only one copperhead. Education is the key: young kids need to be taught to respect & stay away from all snakes in the wild since few young'ns can readily tell a venomous species from a nonvenomous one. But I've always loved snakes & kept them as pets as a child, much to my mom's chagrin.

The spider you saw was almost certainly a harmless wolf spider, which is found all over the US. We have two venomous spider species in E. TN: black widows (indigenous) & brown recluses (introduced). Black widows are common but easily identified; even their webs are easy to identify. Learning what they look like & knowing their preferred habitats are good first steps in avoiding them. I've seen hundreds and even used to keep 'em in jars as a kid, but have never been close to being bitten. Brown recluses have moved into the area in recent years w/ transplants from other parts of the US, but they're shy spiders that you'll likely never experience. Still, I always step on the toes of any pair of shoes I haven't worn in a while, just in case.

As for species to be prudently cautious -- though not paranoid -- about, there's probably nothing here that you're unfamiliar with: wasps (e.g., paper wasps, yellow jackets, and velvet ants) bumblebees, honeybees, mosquitoes, horseflies, occasional rabid raccoons & skunks (as common sense would suggest, just tell your grandkids to steer clear of both species), and vicious dogs. The few truly mean dogs I've encountered while walking or biking on backroads are the only E. TN critters that've ever made me the least bit fearful.

To put this into some perspective, keep in mind that the local fauna is much less of a genuine danger to you & yours than lightning (not that lightning's especially prevalent here; it isn't). And even in East Tennessee, trampoline injuries & bike accidents result in many times more children's ER visits than snake/spider/insect bites/stings or attacks from wild animals.

If you have any other specific questions or concerns, just holler! And congrats on deciding to make the move to a wonderful part of the country.
Great post Kamoshika. I would add to your reputation, but I'm unable to since I did so recently.
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Old 09-11-2007, 11:50 AM
 
Location: Northern Central Mass.
47 posts, read 110,032 times
Reputation: 19
hey have there ever been any incidents with Killer bees aka African bees? I think i heard of them being NC once...
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Old 09-11-2007, 12:42 PM
 
Location: Kingsport, TN
1,697 posts, read 5,715,259 times
Reputation: 1728
Default nary a one...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kar26 View Post
hey have there ever been any incidents with Killer bees aka African bees? I think i heard of them being NC once...
Coming out of Texas, the Africanized bees have yet to make it past Louisiana.

Thankee, jguillot!
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Old 09-17-2007, 08:55 PM
 
Location: Northeast Tennessee
7,303 posts, read 22,737,174 times
Reputation: 5468
Hi Bonnie... I think you will be OK, but I would keep the area the children are in mowed off very well. I actually have seen three snakes here in my lawn just this month... which is strange, because in the 12 years that we have lived here on this land, we have only seen about 7 total. Spiders, well, thats a different story... in the spring, we have some that make there way in (especially downstairs, in the bathtub, etc), that are as big as you hand. Right now we just have alot of those little writing spiders out on the porch catching bugs.
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Old 09-22-2007, 08:16 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Piney Flats, TN
423 posts, read 1,233,181 times
Reputation: 259
Well, folks, I was just down on the farm last week and saw my first black widow...little red hourglass on the belly and all. So, I'm getting a bit more used to the idea of living with spiders and snakes. I appreciate the advice, everyone. Most of it is common sense, and I'm sure I'll have a scream or two over the crazy looking wolf spiders, but with some caution and good teaching, my little grandbabies should be ok when they visit. I'll always be overly cautious when it comes to my little twin grandsons. If they're anything like their daddy (my son) they'll be checking under every rock and log to FIND the venomous stuff! Bonnie
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