An often misunderstood group of animals, reptiles are an important component in a variety of ecosystems they inhabit. The cottonmouth (or water moccasin) and copperhead, the two poisonous snakes found within the park, as well as non-poisonous snakes like the rat snake, southern black racer, and ring-necked snake are given bad reputations due to their cold, unblinking appearances and roles in horror films. Snakes are a form of natural pest control and play a big part in keeping disease-carrying rodent populations in check. Reptiles are cold-blooded, meaning their body temperature changes as the temperature of their environment changes. For this reason, reptiles are most active in the spring and summer months, and become less active in the cold season. Shiloh is home to 28 species of snakes, turtles, and small lizards. Some of the commonly seen reptiles (besides the snakes previously mentioned) include the eastern box turtle, snapping turtle, eastern fence lizard, and ground skink.
Did You Know?
The Confederate army captured more than 2,200 Federal defenders of the Hornet's Nest at Shiloh. The prisoners spent six months in various Confederate prison camps before being exchanged for Confederate prisoners in the fall of 1862.