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American Venom - Poisonous Snakes Of The United States
What Kinds Of Snakes Are Poisonous?
There are four types of venomous snakes in the United States. Three of them are front-fanged vipers. One is a rear-fanged elapid, a relative of cobras.
Although these snakes have a dangerous reputation, anti-venom has reduced fatalities in the U.S. to a mere 6 deaths per year.
The Coral Snake
The coral snake is an elapid. It belongs to the same venomous family as cobras and mambas. Like these relatives, the coral snake's fangs are fixed in place (not hinged, like the pit vipers) and face rear-ward.
Because of its bright coloration, most coral snake bites occur on children. Kids seem to be attracted to the bright colors and are more likely to pick them up.
Several other snakes have similar red, black and yellow markings on them and are often confused for coral snakes. A simple rhyme can help you remember the difference:
"If red touches black
You're ok, Jack.
If red touches yellow
You're a dead fellow"
Shopping Results For American Snakes
Rattlesnakes are responsible for more bites than any of the other three snakes. "Rattlers" are common from coast to coast and can be found in nearly every one of the 48 continental states. There are several species of American rattlesnake:
The Eastern Diamondback is the largest. It is found across the southeastern United States.
The Black-tailed is found in isolated areas of the southwest.
The Massasauga has strangely enlarged scales on its head. It's found from the east coast to the southwest.
The Sidewinder is easily recognized by its unique locomotion. It is common in the deserts of the southwest.
The Pygmy is found throughout the southeast and into Texas
The Western Diamondback is most common in the southwest, but is also found from California to Arkansas
The Timber is common in the woods and forests of east and midwest.
The Copperhead is a pit viper found in the eastern and midwestern United States. It can reach up to three feet in length.
Unlike the rattlesnake, Copperheads don't warn when approached. Instead, they usually prefer escape to confrontation. Less often they will lay still and allow the threat pass by.
While Copperheads are often encountered, there are very few bites reported. Many of those bites end up being "dry" - with no venom injected.
The Cottonmouth, or Water Moccasin, is a close relative of the Copperhead. It inhabits the swamps and wetlands of the southeastern United States. Its species name is piscivorous - that is "fish-eater" - and warm-blooded mammals make up only a small percentage of its diet.
When threatened, Cottonmouths open their mouth wide, displaying the coloration that give them their name. Cottonmouth venom is considerably stronger than their Copperhead relatives, but Cottonmouths are usually non-aggressive. Most bites occur when they are unseen and stepped on.