Some persons unfamiliar with Mississippi may have heard exagerated stories of insects, snakes, and alligators that make you hesitate to visit the Trace. Let's lay those to rest.
Gators - none on the Trace, and almost none in Mississippi except in a few coastal counties. Go to the Zoo in Kamper Park if you want to see a gator.
Snakes - lots in this area, and some are neighbors of the Trace. Most snakes you will see on the Trace are harmless. Most common are Black, Green, King, Garter, and Rat snakes.
Coral snakes are not present in this area. Very few Rattlesnakes have been seen. Water Mocassins inhabit streams and lakes, and don't come up on the Trace. Copperheads are the most common posionous snake in this area and have been seen sunning or crossing the Trace. They are the least posionous pit viper and fairly small.
Most snakes bites occur when people are agitating, playing with, or trying to kill a snake. Snakes are not agressive and just want to be left alone. The Trace is kept well mown and snakes are usually easy to spot and avoid. They are very slow animals and almost as dumb as rocks, so you have 2 big advantages working in your favor.
Please do not run over or step on any snake you may see as this is always fatal (to the snake). Their rib structure can not stand up to a bicycle tire or footfall, and the broken ribs will eventually kill them. No one has ever died of a confirmed snakebite in Mississippi. (ref: Wildlife Mississippi)
Insects - Now here's the real pest to look out for! Many more people die of insect bites (most are allergic reactions) in the U.S. than any other pest. The good news is that insects are not the problem here they are in many areas. Ticks are rare on the Trace, and Lyme's disease is not common in this area. Mosquitos are common, but there again West Nile is rare in this area. Bites from Mosquitos, Horse Flies, and Deer flies can be a nuisance and a good repellant is recommended from late Spring through early Fall.
In case you are not familiar with Deer Flies: Deer flies are true flies (insect order Diptera) and are members of the family Tabanidae. They are certainly pests, as the adult females suck blood and consequently are considered as pests on both humans and livestock. Consequently, humans and livestock will often attract groups of them who will buzz around and attempt to get in a good bite! Horse flies are also a pest on the Longleaf Trace. Female horse flies also bite. They (horse flies) are larger than the deer flies and are generally solitary. The good news is that the deer flies will be a problem on the Trace for only about a month (April-May). After that they will not be so prevalent. A good spray of something like "Deep Woods Off" on a shirt or neck will help keep the deer flies from landing but probably won't keep them from buzzing around. The bite of a deer fly is similar to that of a horse fly (pretty painful).
Dogs - Dogs on the Trace must be on a leash at all times. We have generally had good cooperation from dog owners along the Trace and problems are minimal. But occasionally a new dog owner will not be aware they are causing a problem and more followup is required. If you see someone with an unleashed dog or are bothered by a loose dog, please tell a Trace worker or call the Trail Boss at 601-315-2453 so this can be corrected.