It is fairly common see a snake while hiking or camping. Luckily many are harmless, but some are poisonous. To help avoid a chance encounter with a snake – make noise as you walk in order to give the snake a chance to move away, as most snakes don’t want to see you any more than you want to see them.
The 4 Most common venomous snakes in the United States are:
- Rattle Snakes
- Coral Snake
Cottonmouths (Water Moccasin)
Cottonmouths can be identified by:
- Can grow to be 3 feet long
- Their bodies are thick and bulky
- Head is arrow shaped. Looks triangular when viewed from the top and is noticeably larger than its neck.
- Color and markings get darker with age. When born, the tail is yellow and becomes green then black as it gets older.
- Adults also have a thin, pale white line above the eyes.
Rattle Snakes can be identified by:
- Rattle snakes are pit vipers, meaning they have Heat-sensing pits on their snouts which allow them to detect their prey.
- The head is large and triangular – protruding from their more-slender necks
- Can grow up to 8 feet long
- Diamond shaped markings on their back
- A rattle on the tail which is used to ward off threatening animals or predators.
Copperheads can be identified by:
- Heart shaped or triangular head
- Thick, stout bodies which can get up to 3 feet in length
- Typically the color of dead leaves – tan, brown or orange. Allows them to blend in with the forrest floor
- Pattern of wide, irregular dark bands on their back
- Vertical slit pupils
Although not common as the others, this is the most deadly US snake.
Coral Snakes can be identified by:
- Rounded heads
- Round Pupils
- No heat-sensing pits
- Colorful. Red and black segments separated by yellow bands
- Remember the rhyme – “Red touches black, I’m alright Jack! Red touches yellow, will kill a fellow!”