ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Pets and Animals»
  • Reptiles & Amphibians»
  • Snakes

The Venomous Snakes of North America - Deadly Snake Bite!

Updated on December 15, 2012

Deadly Snakes of North America - Are They Out to Get Us?

Snakes. Just the name brings fear to the hearts of misguided souls everywhere. While some snakes are truly dangerous, none of them are the evil creatures they are made out to be. They are just trying to survive like all the rest of us. In fact, snakes account for some of the most important controls in our society. The balance of nature would be completely out of whack without their existence as the vermin population would absolute explode. Imagine a world where there are no snakes, but millions more rats, mice, and insects. That would be the result. You can read more about that here. This hub is dedicated to those snakes that are dangerous to humans in a venomous way. That is, they deliver a venoumous bite that is dangerous to man. Of the thousands of snakes in North America, only four major species are venomous. They each have sub-species, and I will touch on those as well. Most importantly, please remember that these snakes generally only bite when provoked. Leave them be, and you should be okay.

Mess with them, and they will mess with you. This is not something you want to do.

The Coral Snake

The Coral Snake

The coral snake is actually drop for drop the most toxic snake on this list. It's venom is neurotoxic in nature, and the bite would literally shut down your nervous system. Then your heart would stop beating, and you would likely die. This is assuming of course, that you did not get the treatment that any snake bite victim would need.

The coral snake is actually quite shy by nature, and it has no interest in biting you and wasting it's precious venom. You see, you are not food, and the coral snake wants to save venom for prey. The coral snake is not likely to bite unless you play around with him. That is not wise.

The coral snake is also known for being able to climb its own body to deliver a bite. In other words, this is not a snake to hold by the tail unless you want some toxic venom coursing through your veins. Another myth is that the coral snake can only bite you on the thumb, or the folds of your skin. The coral snake can bite any area of skin you make available. It is true that the coral snake has much smaller fangs then say, a rattlesnake, but it is still a capable biter.

The coral snake can be readily identified by the red, yellow and black bands that encircle the length of its body. A coral snake stands out from other imitators by the order of the colors. If red touches black, then it is a harmless king snake or some other non venoumous snake. With the coral snake the colors are always red, then yellow, then black. The yellow bands are considerably thinner than the red and black.

While the coral snake is not the monster that many make them out to be, it is still a very serious venomous snake bite and should be treated medically as soon as possible. This snake has been known to kill.

The Copperhead

The Copperhead

The copperhead is the snake you are most likely to see in your backyard of the four venomous species. It is very widespread throughout the United States, and as such, is responsible for the majority of venomous snake bites in North America. Fortunately, the bite of the copperhead is a bit milder as venom goes, then the other snakes on this list. Still, a bite from the venomous copperhead is a serious medical emergency.

The copperhead is famous for blending in with the woodland and brush that it likes to hang around in. The woods are ideal for it to lay perfectly still, and wait for prey to happen by. The copperhead is larger in size than the coral snake, but smaller than the cottonmouth and rattlesnake species. (except the pygmy rattlesnake) It is often tan to copper in color, and has very clear patches of hourglass markings across the back. The color is wildly different based on region, but they all have a copper-colored head.

The copperhead is a pit viper, and has the traditional pit viper traits. Pits on the side of its snout, triangular looking head, and stout bodies. The copperheads are quick to strike when provoked.

There are a number of different types of copperheads, and they include the southern copperhead, the northern copperhead, and the Osage copperhead. All have similar venom, and similar outcomes for snake bites.

The Cottonmouth

The Cottonmouth

The cottonmouth, or commonly called "water moccasin" is much like the copperhead, but with a much nastier disposition and a more serious bite. The venom is similar, but the cottonmouth is an aggressive snake that is often found near the water. Just as comfortable on water as it is on land, the cottonmouth is territorial in nature, and has been known to stand its ground when encountered. Some have claimed that the snake has attacked them and pursued them in the wild, but my experience has not been that way. Most cottonmouths are going to curl up in a striking position, and bare the trademark white mouth that they are known for and named after. This is a warning, and a cottonmouth will certainly strike and inject copious amounts of venom if you do not heed the warning.

The cottonmouth is the one snake that I personally do not ever want to come upon. They are cranky, and usually quite fast. They strike with blinding speed, and they have large venom glands that are loaded with nasty venom.

The Cottonmouth is also mistaken for literally hundreds of different types of snakes all around the waters edge. The cottonmouth is often heavy, with dark coloration throughout. They also have crossbands but they disappear as the cottonmouth ages. This snake has more variation in color than any other snake on this list with the possible exception of copperheads.

The cottonmouth is one nasty little bugger.

The Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

The Rattlesnake

Ah, the rattlesnake. Perhaps no other snake is better known in the world than the rattlesnake. This venomous pit viper is found in most parts of the United States, and is quite capable of delivering a deadly bite. The trademark rattle is something that virtually everyone has heard of and about, and it strikes fear into anyone that hears it. The rattlesnakes of North America are among the deadliest creatures around our parts. There are a number of different species, and I will touch briefly on several of the major players.

The Western Diamondback Rattlesnake - This is one of the most dangerous and feared rattlesnakes in all of North America and with good reason. The western diamondback has a pair of huge fangs to deliver a toxic soup that can kill a man in no time. The Western diamondback is the most common rattlesnake used in pics and movies, and is the typical rattlesnake that most people think of when they think rattlesnake.

The Timber Rattlesnake - This rattlesnake has a bit of a more laid back reputation but make no mistake, it is deadly. The timber rattler is high on the list of snakes that deliver a venomous bite because of their abundance in their range. This snake can commonly be found here in the hills of North Carolina, and is one of the snakes I encounter most often while out hiking. (which is still not that often)

The Pygmy Rattlesnake - This little bugger is not likely to kill you, but it sure will make you feel like dying. The venom in this small rattler is dangerous to smaller children and the elderly in particular. Any rattlesnake bite is dangerous, and should be treated as soon as possible.

The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake - This is the king of venomous snakes in North America. This large, heavy bodied rattlesnake is one of the most impressive snakes in the world. With a large head that houses two huge venom glands to go with two large fangs, the Eastern diamondback is one of the most serious rattlesnake bites around.

The eastern is so impressive due to the fact that when it coils up to strike, it puffs up its already huge body, and looks as though it is twice its normal size. This snake is no bluffer, however, as it houses one of the most deadly bites in the region. The eastern diamondback is the king of snakes in America, and would compete with any snake in the world with its beauty as well.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      michelle 5 years ago

      i hateeeee snakes they my worse nightmare!

    • profile image

      Bella 5 years ago

      Its so cool snake are my favorite.Anaconda and Timber Rattle snakes!

    • profile image

      jake 5 years ago

      In my experiences and research the cottonmouth aka water moccasin are quite docile and non aggressive unless provoked.

    • profile image

      edward 5 years ago

      this a good page so people can leren more abuot dangerus animales

    • profile image

      mason davis 6 years ago

      cool snakes are really facinating and they make me want to explore the wild more

    • profile image

      anoymous 6 years ago


    • profile image

      Maddog 6 years ago

      Just to say i mean Micgigan.

    • profile image

      Maddog 6 years ago

      Very interesting i dont get to see wild snakes much cause i live in MI but i do love them! Very cool!

    • profile image

      mr kelley 6 years ago

      many snakes in marshes i trapped when I was younger , I would did out a hole in 20 degree weather and low and behold a fat snake in the leaves , I would put the snake back and set trap outside the opening . a day or two go by coons foxes coyotes would be waiting for me . snake still resting thru winter in his hole

    • profile image

      Tim 6 years ago

      Snakes are really beautiful

    • profile image

      Kay 6 years ago

      I enjoyed the article which I found truthful, although I was once on the bank of a small creek when i saw a large, very old (almost totally black) cotton mouth, it was ready to shead (the skin had a grey hue on top) it was mad, I don't believe it could see me and was after the noise I was making. I lunged airborne in my direction, I began bacing away (fast) when it hit the ground it came toward me still. I was far enough away by then to turn and run. I did not like that snake. I lived next to the stream but I never saw that snake again. I would have thought it would have stayed close to the area, but if it did it didn't let me see it again.

    • profile image

      Basil Alvin 6 years ago

      By nature snakes made very pretty looks but its soo venomous. Nice to read about Coral snake who bites first nervous then heart.

    • profile image

      gage 6 years ago

      what habitat might you find diamondback rattlers.

    • profile image

      tim 6 years ago

      I thought the king cobra was in the u.s.a

    • profile image

      evelyn r. feliciano 6 years ago

      i like the articals so much. i think snakes are cool.i am a girl.i am nine years old. i love snakes. i have learned so much.

    • profile image

      Abigail 6 years ago

      I love snakes they are cool.They aren't that creepy.And I,m a girl I,m 7 years old to

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Enjoyable read...Bob

    • profile image

      snake7112 6 years ago

      I have studied snakes for 50 years. I have caught close to 100 cottonmouths and have been bitten 3 times by cottonmouths,once by a large canebrake rattler and once by a copperhead. The canebrake is by far the hardest to handle and has the most severe bite and the copperhead the mildest. While cottonmouths will sometimes stand their ground I have never been chased by one.

    • profile image

      aj 6 years ago

      so cool

    • profile image

      taylor 6 years ago

      snakes are gross

    • profile image

      Cat luver 6 years ago

      Very helpful in my biology studies! Got an A- in my herpetology report

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      Excellent! I'm working on a hub about the Cottonmouth. I had a close call with one just last week.

    • profile image

      john 7 years ago

      Whoa its great. we get to know about many interesting facts about snakes.Very interesting!!!!

    • profile image

      crazy kid 7 years ago

      that's crazy

    • profile image

      Naufal 7 years ago

      Nice!Actually,the western diamondback rattlesnake is more deadlier than the coral snake.It is more aggressive and contains BOTH hemetoxic and neutroxin venom..Ok i dunno how to spell those words..however the western diamondback rattlesnake holds it's deadly venom as the most deadliest snake in North America..and also this list

    • profile image

      Clifton 7 years ago

      Just so you know... I was pursued today in a river by a cotton mouth. I don't know about what they will or will not do on land, but I can tell you they will come for you in the water. Don't think they won't...

    • profile image

      Wayne J. 7 years ago

      There are two incredibly toxic North American snakes among the world's top 12 list. That is, they are noticeably more toxic than a Coral snake. One is the yellow bellied sea snake found along any Pacific coastline. It is a sea snake

      one may encounter but not necessarily on land! The other is the Tiger Rattlesnake. It's venom is highly concentrated and neurotoxic, much more deadly than the Mojave rattler. Most toxicity lists will not show the Tiger Rattler. But when shown, wow, look out.

    • profile image

      Bob 7 years ago


    • profile image

      Jessica 8 years ago

      This was interesting, I just wish I could've seen more on the Timber Rattlesnake. I was curious how much venom from a Timber Rattler it would take to paralyze a person, but I don't know where to look :/ (I'm doing a project in school and my story is that Im supposed to be paralyzed because I got bitten by a Timber Rattler)

    • profile image

      Jamie 8 years ago


      The four snakes I have chosen as the most dangerous in the U.S.A. are: 1). the Mojave Rattlesnake, 2).the Southern Pacific Rattlesnake, 3).the Cane Break Rattlesnake and 4).the Eastern Diamond Back Rattlesnake.

    • Mander Lee profile image

      Mander Lee 8 years ago

      Great hub! Dextermichaels, I have lived in the South all of my life and have ran across a few water moccasins but never ever have I gotten bit on the ass from sittin' on the squat! I sure hope it isn't true!

    • BL Tween profile image

      BL Tween 8 years ago

      Nice Hub! Thanks!

    • profile image

      Ghost32 8 years ago

      Great discourse, Rodney. You might consider adding one "variation" to your list of rattlesnakes. I did not know a thing about the so-called "Mojave green" rattlesnake until today when an area resident gave me a clue. When I did a Hub on the discovery, this Hub of yours came up in the "Related Hubs" section, and I was delighted to find it every bit as good as I'd hoped.

    • profile image

      terddw 8 years ago


    • profile image

      cpulady 8 years ago

      i haaaaaaaaate snakes they creep me out! i cant get anywhere near one!

    • dextermichaels profile image

      dextermichaels 8 years ago from Birch Bay, Washington

      Whoa. Hands down the best hub I have seen yet in my early days here on HubPages. My wife is deathly afraid of snakes, and the time we spent living in Louisiana was dreadful for her. Is it true that water mocassins will come up in some toilets in the south?

    • Constant Walker profile image

      Constant Walker 9 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

      Rodney, fascinating! I love this kind of stuff. I wish Animal Planet would go back to more educational/nature programming and get away from it's current "reality" thing. As is it, one is more likely to see this type of thing on Discovery Channel.

      Great hub!!!