What Kind of Snakes are Common in the Southeast?

The Southern States of America are home to hundreds of thousands of snakes. Fortunately, most of them are harmless or even beneficial to humans. Others are downright deadly. The most common slithering reptiles found in the South are the run-of-the-mill garden snakes, water snakes, or milk snakes found all over North America. However, the South also has its fair share of venomous serpents. Here are some of the venomous varieties commonly seen in Southeastern America.

The North American Coral Snake

This species is among the deadliest snake species in North America. The coral snake has red and black stripes that closely resemble a number of non-venomous breeds. However, coral snakes have thin yellow bands between the red and black stripes. Therefore, the old adage about “red and yellow kill a fellow; red and black, you’re okay, Jack” is an accurate summary of how to identify this snake. And while it is highly unlikely that you will encounter a coral snake because they are extremely reclusive snakes, getting bit by one can be fatal.

The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

The Eastern Diamondback is a fairly easy snake to identify. Its color ranges from olive to brown to gray, but its iconic diamond shapes on its scales and large rattle at the end of its tail easily give it away. It is also a very big snake – one of the largest snake varieties in North America – and has been known to reach eight feet in length. These snakes also have impressively large striking ranges of up to two-thirds their body length. Temperament varies from snake to snake, so it might rattle and hiss at you, or it could strike without giving any warning at all. The snake can decide how much venom it wants to give you, and about five percent of all rattlesnake bites are “dry” meaning the snake injected no venom when he struck. However, the Diamondback’s venom is extremely potent, and there is a nearly 40% fatality rate among victims of severe bites.

The Copperhead

The Copperhead is responsible for more snake bites than any other venomous reptile. This is due to the aggressive nature of the Copperhead. Other venomous snakes will quietly slither away, hiss, or rattle when they feel threatened. Copperheads, on the other hand, almost always strike in those situations. Fortunately, their venom is less potent than that of the Eastern Diamondback or the Coral snakes. A Copperhead bites to teach you a lesson. Therefore, it rarely delivers a dose high enough to kill you, but certainly one that will be extremely painful. You should also seek medical attention immediately after receiving a Copperhead bite to ensure that no tissue damage has occurred.

Venomous snakes have their place in nature, but humans should avoid contact with them. These snakes want to be left alone, and failure to respect their privacy has consequences. If you happen to see one, don’t try to pick it up, move it, or kill it. Simply maintain a safe distance and keep any children or pets away from it.