Most of the venomous snakes of Tennessee are non aggressive, with the exception of the Cottonmouth. Of all the bites reported in the United States, most occur from handling or stepping directly on the snake. Two of the best ways to avoid being bitten are, to be aware of your surroundings while trekking through the woods, and by all means do not pick up a Copperhead and play with it.
There are 50,000 deaths worldwide from venomous snakebites reported each year. Of those, only 12 - 15 are in the United States, and within Tennessee, only 4 deaths have been reported since 1960. The venomous snakes of Tennessee are not as lethal as the snakes of states, such as: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and Texas.
It doesn't matter how stylish your shorts and tank top ensemble are for the summer, if you are going to be walking in wooded areas, "Wear a pair of boots". Remember that in the woods, you are in their back yard and not just your own. Snakes have no intention of biting humans, but are forced to do so by the ignorance of people not watching where they are walking.
Most Tennessee snakes are nocturnal during the summer months and only lay in the midday sun to warm their blood. During the early spring and late fall they are more prevalent during the daylight hours, as the temperatures are at their highest. Therefore you are more likely to get snake bit during these seasons. During the winter months, snakes hibernate thus lowering your chances of an encounter.
The next time that you complain about the amount of frogs or lizards around your home, realize that it means that you have no snakes to eliminate them, also realize that the snakes will be coming once they find out that the food supply is there.
To keep the snakes out, the best defense is to keep your lawn mowed. A snake will not travel across a field in plain view of a hawk looking for a slithery meal. Also keep all debris cleaned up. Snakes tend to love something to hide under.