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The Venomous Snakes of North America - Deadly Snake Bite!
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 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, 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.
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The Western Diamondback 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.