Music puts Tennessee’s largest city on the map, but there’s also a down-to-earth vibe in and around Nashville. Despite being a bustling metropolis, many scenic and unspoiled outdoors are in and around the city. And like most other places, spending time outdoors means being on guard against potentially harmful pests.
Let’s take a close look at the most dangerous creatures, large and small, that you may encounter in the Nashville area.
What Is Nashville Known For?
Mostly everyone knows that Nashville is literally synonymous with country music. You could even argue that one wouldn’t exist without the other.
Also known as Music City, Nashville is the center for most of the recording and business operations for the country music industry. It’s also home to the Grand Ole Opry, a long-running live-performance music show that’s been on the radio since 1925.
Nashville, which is Tennessee’s capital, has a population of around 700,000. It’s on the Cumberland River in a region known as Middle Tennessee.
The city has several highly acclaimed colleges and universities, including Vanderbilt, Tennessee State, Belmont, and Fisk.
Sports fans can root for Nashville teams in all major pro sports. They include the Tennessee Titans of the NFL and a hockey team, the Nashville Predators. The Nashville Sounds is a Triple-A baseball team affiliated with the Milwaukee Brewers.
What Creatures Are in Tennessee?
Nearly 2 million people call metro Nashville home, but the Middle Tennessee region also has many acres of undeveloped land. In fact, it’s common for successful country music artists to live on big spreads just outside the city.
As you can imagine, many animals call these forested areas home, too. Hunters can vouch for the healthy population of white-tailed deer, and they run across the occasional black bears, too.
Other critters in the area include wild hogs, coyotes, bobcats, skunks, raccoons, opossums, and squirrels. Nothing too unusual, in other words, but the number of wildlife in and around Nashville is a surprise to some visitors.
7 Most Dangerous Creatures Around Nashville
Sometimes the most dangerous animals you may encounter are small or camouflaging themselves effectively with their surroundings. It pays to keep a watchful eye out for these creatures of various sizes that may be sharing your space.
1. Copperhead Snakes
If you’re close enough to see the distinctive copper-colored head, you should be very careful. One of several venomous snakes in the Nashville area, the copperhead typically has a light brown body with darker brown bands. A full-grown adult is usually two to three feet long.
Be sure to stay within striking distance, if possible, and quietly retreat from a copperhead. Their bites are rarely fatal, but they are painful. They can cause severe nausea and breathing problems.
2. Black Widows
Spiders can be venomous, too, and these are probably the most notorious of all. Black widows are shiny and black with a distinctive pattern on their abdomen (it’s in the shape of those fiddles they play on the Grand Ole Opry). The females are bigger than the males, with bodies about the size of a dime. They are known to be pretty aggressive, and their bites cause burning, muscle cramps, and lingering aches.
3. Black Bears
Attacks by black bears are not common at all, but they do happen. If you encounter a black bear, chances are it’s looking for something to eat. That’s why it’s so important to stay out of their habitat. And if you’re camping in bear territory, keep your food and trash tightly secured.
The good news is that black bear sightings in the Nashville area are extremely rare. They are much more likely in the Great Smoky Mountains region of eastern Tennessee.
At least you can hear a rattlesnake, right? Well, that does mean it feels threatened, so that shouldn’t be a comforting sound. There are two kinds of rattlesnakes in the Nashville area.
The timber rattlesnake is the largest and also the most dangerous. It’s gray or tan with dark bands and a large, triangular head. A much smaller subspecies, called the pygmy rattlesnake, is another one to avoid.
Country superstar Brad Paisley has a lighthearted hit song about checking his girlfriend for ticks, but they’re no laughing matter. The little round and brown insects are sometimes hard to spot, but it’s worth the effort. If they go undetected for too long on your skin, their bites can cause debilitating illnesses like Lime’s disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. They’re easier to find if you wear light-colored clothing, including socks and sleeves.
These medium-sized mammals don’t bite, scratch, or claw, but they have another lasting effect you’ll want to avoid. Black with a white stripe down their backs, skunks have a unique built-in defense mechanism.
They spray their potential predators with a pungent bodily fluid. Keep your distance – they can spray up to 20 feet! They come out at night and hate bright lights, so that’s a good way to keep them at bay.
7. Brown Recluses
The big brown spiders have poisonous venom, but thankfully there’s not much of it. Still, a brown recluse’s bite can cause nausea, fever, and joint pain. They can also leave long-lasting scars as another painful reminder of your encounter.
These spiders are solid brown with violin-shaped bodies. Including their legs, they’re about the size of a quarter. And, yes, they are somewhat reclusive, tending to hide out in dark places.
Is Nashville Safe?
With its twanging sounds and flashing bright lights, Nashville beckons scores of music-loving tourists, some drawn to its boisterous honky-tonks. The heavily forested hills around the city, with its hills, rivers, and streams, are inviting to wildlife, too.
This productive habitat for critters shouldn’t keep you away from Music City, however. The truth is that very few animals set out to harm humans. They are typically aggressive only when they feel you’re invading their space.
Knowing what potentially harmful creatures live in and around Nashville may help you avoid any dangerous situations. Their presence is no big cause for alarm, however. They shouldn’t keep you from planning a fun trip to this wonderful Southern city.
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