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Identification of Venomous Snakes in the U.S.

There are only 4 highly of venomous snakes in the United States.

They are the Rattlesnakes, Copperheads, Cottonmouths (Water-Moccasin),

and Coral snakes. Below are the four snakes. Study them and when you

find a snake, if they don’t look like the ones below, then they might not

be venomous. Many non-venomous snakes share the same colors and

other charateristics of the snakes below, and make it hard to tell the

venomous apart from the non-venomous. Also the juvenile venomous

snake may look just like the non-venmous snake. One very easy

charateristic of a venomous snake is its vertical shaped pupils. This goes

for all venomous snakes in the United States except for the Coral Snake,

who has rounded eyes like the non-venomous snakes. When you find a

snake it is best that you just leave it alone, even if you are sure of what 

kind of snake it is.



The Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix), can be quickly identified

by its copper color. This snake has vertical, cat eyed shape pupils. Has

a triangular shaped head and a very thick body. Its scales are weekly

keeled and does not appear shiny. Its a broad headed snake which means

its neck is skinny and its head is wide.


Cottonmouth (Water Moccasin)


The Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus), also known as the Water-Moccasin,

can be difficult to identify. They are like water snakes, and are normally found

near water. They are normally a dark brown color to black. They have a white

inner mouth. They have vertical shaped pupils and have a thick body. They have

a broad triangular head. These snakes are often mistaken as water snakes.



Coral Snakes


There are several kinds of corals snakes. The Coral snake can be very

easy to identify with its bright red and yellow on black coloring or can

be mistaken as a harmless snake. The pattern of the coral snake is red

and black with yellow between the two, red and yellow touching. The

coral snake is mimiced by several other snakes, one of which is the

Scarlet snake. The scarlet snake has the same colors as the coral snake,

but different pattern. Also the scarlet snake has a red nose, as the coral

snake has a black. The coral snake has a rounded head, with a slender body

and no neck.  Here are two very useful rymthes that will help you tell the

 venomous coral snake apart from the other non-venomous snakes:


Red on Yellow, Kill a Fellow

Red on Black, Venom Lack


If  its nose is black, get back






There are many species of Rattlesnakes in the United States. The

rattlesnake can quickly be identified by the rattle on the tip of its tail. 

The rattlesnakes characteristics are a broad, triangular head, with a

thick body, and a rattle on the tail. Though don’t always think it is not a

rattlesnake, just be cause the snake doens’t appear to have a rattle. Some

times the rattles break off, and the juvenile rattlesnake rattles can sometimes

barely be seen.


October 21 2007 02:14 am

2 Responses to “Identification of Venomous Snakes in the U.S.”

  1. jean patrick meert on 26 Feb 2008 at 9:52 pm #

    Which to know more of the mocassin snake. A specially the origine of the name.

    Can anyone help me on that?

  2. jcbiggar1 on 27 Aug 2008 at 4:10 pm #

    Hey Jean Patrick Meert, This snake has been given these two names, the Cottonmouth and Water Moccasin, for two reasons, here they are: The Cottonmouth got its name from its habit of opening its mouth wide showing its white “cotton colored” lining. It does this to scare off predators. The Water Moccasin got its name because of its habitat. This snake is a water snake, which means it lives near water. This snake also has moccasin color skin. So this snake was given the name Water Moccasin also. I really hope this helps.

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