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Eastern Coral Snake


Characteristics

  • The only venomous snake in Alabama outside of the pit viper family
  • Average length is 3 feet long but some individuals can reach up to 5 feet
  • Coral snakes live in the thick vegetation of forests and venture out after heavy rainfalls

The coral snake is the only venomous snake found in the southeast US that is not part of the viper family. It possesses a very potent venoms, but bites are incredibly rare. The coral snake is extremely shy and lives in places that are not commonly habituated by people.

The venom of the coral snake is so effective that many species try to imitate its color and pattern including the scarlet snake. The coral snake has bands of yellow, red, and black along its length. One method of identifying this snake is by using the stripe pattern and a mnemonic device. “Red touch black, you’re OK Jack. Red touch yellow, you’re dead fellow.”  The stripes of the coral snake will have thin yellow bands that touch thick red sections. Nonvenomous imitators will have red sections that are framed by black bands.

While the coral snake has such an extremely potent venom, actual bites are very rare. This is partly due to the snake’s shy nature, but also to the fact that the coral snake must chew on its victim in order in inject its victim.


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