snakeMost snakes indigenous to the United States are not poisonous. The exceptions are copperheads, coral snakes, rattlesnakes, and water moccasins.  If you’re bitten by one of these snakes, seek medical attention immediately, as the venom could be life threatening.  Most poisonous snakes in the United States can be identified by the following characteristics:

  • Slit eyes. The only exception is the coral snake.
  • Triangle-shaped head
  • Depression between the eyes and the nostrils.

Copperheads range in color from red to gold, with hourglass shapes on its body. Young copperhead snakes have a tail with a bright yellow tip. These snakes are usually found in the Eastern United States.

Coral snakes have colorful red, yellow, and black rings, with the red and yellow rings touching each other. These snakes are usually slender and about 18 to 30 inches long. Unlike most venomous snakes, Coral snakes do not have slit eyes.

Rattlesnakes are the most common type of poisonous snake, and can be found all over the United States. There are 32 different types of rattlesnakes. One thing all rattlesnakes have in common is a tail that makes a rattling sound when the snake feels threatened.

Water moccasins, also known as cottonmouths, can be totally brown or black, or can have yellow cross bands. Younger snakes are usually more colorful, and sometimes have a yellow-tipped tail.  Adult water moccasins are often 24 to 48 inches long, and are sometimes even longer. Water moccasins can be found in the Southeastern United States, near rives and lakes.