Three major groups of reptiles are found in the park: turtles, lizards, and snakes.
Lizards have dry, scaly skins. They are active animals that use the heat of the sun to warm their bodies. The warm, dry habitats that most lizards favor occur only at fairly low elevations around the margins of the park. Most lizards have four legs and a tail, but one species that lives in the park, the Eastern Slender Glass Lizard, is legless and resembles a snake.
The first question that most park visitors have when they see a snake is “Is it poisonous?” The answer is almost always “no,” since only 2 of the 23 species of snakes that live in the park are venomous: the Northern Copperhead and Timber Rattlesnake. The likelihood of an average visitor even seeing a venomous snake in the Great Smokies, let alone being bitten by one, is extremely small. There is no record of a human fatality due to snakebite in the park’s history.
Reptiles and Amphibians of the Smokies
The Smokies are the Salamander Capital of the World. This up-to-date full-color field guide covers 30 species, plus frogs, turtles, snakes, and more. 84 color photos in all, making it easy to identify salamanders, skinks, and other creatures.
Last updated: November 7, 2019