Creepy Critters Flee Rising Mississippi
Animals being forced into residential areas around region
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted May 10, 2011 6:02 AM CDT
The flood-swollen Mississippi River flows between Memphis, Tenn., top, and West Memphis, Ark., Monday, May 9, 2011. The Mississippi River rose Monday to levels not seen in Memphis since the 1930s, swamping...   (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
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(Newser) – The Mississippi's record flooding is forcing out snakes, spiders, and other dangerous critters into Memphis and other residential areas in the region, reports ABC News. The biggest danger is probably the venomous snakes known as water moccasins or cottonmouths, which swim well and are aggressive under stress. "They can cause a fairly serious bite," says a veterinarian at the Smithsonian National Zoo. "It's normally not fatal, but there's an enormous amount of tissue damage. In fact, I've seen photographs of bites and it looks like somebody's arm has been put in a drill."

But there have also been reports of spiders and fire ants. Even deer can be dangerous, traveling in large, frightened herds. "You'll see your wildlife moving and, of course, their nature is to move to the higher, drier ground," says a Tennessee official. "[It] probably will have a huge impact on our wildlife in this part of the county."