Identifying Venomous Snakes
Summer is the season of the snake in the United States, when these reptiles are out in full force. People often stumble across snakes hiding in garages or sheds or out in the yard or woods. Fortunately, the majority of snakes are non venomous. ~ Emily Leazer
There are over 100 species of snakes found in the US, but only about 20 of them are venomous. Of the venomous snakes, they fall into four categories; copperheads, cottonmouths, coral and rattlesnakes.
Each type of venomous snake has many different sub species. It’s a good rule of thumb to avoid contact with snakes in general, but it’ important to have some idea of which ones may be harmful.
Each state has a variety of different snake species, so I’ll provide an overview of each of the four types of venomous snakes.
Copperheads are a type of pit viper. These snakes have a triangular-shaped head and vertical, elliptical pupils. The base color of the copperhead is tannish brown with bands along its body that are a different shade of tan or brown.
Copperheads will generally try to avoid human contact, but when they encounter humans they usually freeze, hoping to use their camouflage look to remain unseen. However, this can result in a snake bite if they are accidentally stepped on.
Copperheads account for the majority of venomous snake bites in the United States. Fortunately, their venom is less potent than the other venomous snakes in the region, so they are rarely fatal if treated immediately.
Copperheads are found in the eastern United States, and are especially common in the southeastern states.
This is another species of pit vipers, also found in the southeastern United States. These snakes are a brownish color and spend the majority of their time in water.
However, there are several types of non-venomous snakes that are also brown and live in water in this region. You can distinguish cottonmouths by their triangular heads and elliptical pupils.
When cottonmouths encounter humans they often try to escape, but they sometimes become aggressive. They are known to open their mouths and hiss when they feel threatened before striking.
Coral snakes have a very distinct pattern with red, yellow and black bands. Some non-venomous snakes have a similar pattern but with a slightly different order of coloring. The venom of coral snakes is incredibly potent.
Fortunately, coral snake bites are very rare. When they encounter humans, coral snakes attempt to escape if at all possible. Different species of coral snakes can be found scattered throughout the southern United States.
These pit viper snakes are known for their rattler, which they shake when threatened as a warning before they strike. Rattlesnakes are primarily found in the American southwest.
There are a few species that can be found in the eastern part of the country as well. Different species of rattlesnakes have different types of patterns, but the rattler on the end of the tail is characteristic of all rattlesnakes.
Avoiding snakes whenever possible is the best practice, but especially if you run across one that fits the description of a venomous snake. If you are ever bitten by a venomous snake you should seek immediate medical attention.
Emily Leazer - July 6, 2012 - posted at BeforeIt'sNews
Emily Leazer is a blogger in the pest control industry. She currently writes for www.pestcontrol.us/