Venomous Snakes

Venomous Snakes

This page contains information on how to identify and avoid venomous snakes in an emergency situation. Exampels are the rattlesnake, cottonmouth, copperhead, cobra, coral snake. You will also find out how to identify the symptoms and also preventions of a snake bite as well as the first aid steps and finally a list of the most Venomous snakes.
Venomous snakes found in the United States include rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouths/water moccasins, and coral snakes. They can be dangerous to outdoor workers including farmers, foresters, landscapers, and any other workers who spend time outside. Although rare, some individuals with a severe allergy to snake venom may be at risk of death if bitten. It has been estimated that 7,000–8,000 people per year receive venomous bites in the United States, and about 5 of those people die. The number of deaths would be much higher if people did not seek medical care. It is important for individuals to train themselves about their risk of exposure to venomous snakes, how they can prevent and protect themselves from snake bites, and what they should do if they are bitten.



There are many species of rattlesnakes in the United States. Rattlesnakes are the largest of the venomous snakes in the United States. They can accurately strike at up to one-third their body length. Rattlesnakes use their rattles or tails as a warning when they feel threatened. Rattlesnakes may be found sunning themselves near logs, boulders, or open areas. These snakes may be found in most habitats including the mountains, prairies, deserts, and beaches. They occupy regions across the united states. Rattlesnake bites are painful when they occur.

Copperhead Snake

Copperhead Snake

Copperheads vary in color from reddish to golden tan. The colored bands on their body are typically hourglass-shaped. Most adults are 18–36 inches long. They are not usually aggressive, but will often freeze when frightened. Individuals are more likely to be bitten when they unknowingly step on or near a copperhead. Copperheads are often found in forests, rocky areas, swamps, or near sources of water like rivers. They are usually seen in the eastern states, extending as far west as Texas.

Cottonmouth (Water Moccasins)


Cottonmouth snakes average 50–55 inches long. The adult snake’s skin is dark tan, brown, or nearly black, with vague black or dark brown crossbands. Juveniles have a bold crossbanded pattern of brown or orange with a yellow tail. Cottonmouths are frequently found in or around water. They do not scare easily and will defend themselves when threatened. They are usually seen in wetland areas, rivers, lakes, etc., in the southeastern states. Cottonmouth and copperhead bites are painful right when they occur.

Coral Snake

Coral Snake

These snakes are often confused with nonvenomous king snakes, which have similar colored bands although in a different arrangement. However, if the red bands are touching the yellow bands, then it is a venomous coral snake. Coral snakes tend to hide in leaf piles or burrow into the ground. They are usually found in wooded, sandy, or marshy areas of the Southern United States. Coral snake bites may be painless at first. Major symptoms may not develop for hours. Do NOT make the mistake of thinking you will be fine if the bite area looks good and you are not in a lot of pain. Untreated coral snake bites can be deadly.

Cobra Snake

Cobra Snake

A cobra is a venomous snake, which is a member of the family Elapidae (elapids). The name is short for cobra de capelo, which is Portuguese for "snake with hood," or "hood-snake." When disturbed, most of these snakes can rear up and spread their neck (or hood) in a characteristic threat display. However, not all snakes referred to as cobras are of the same genus, or even of the same family.

The King Cobra is the world's longest venomous snake, with a length up to 5.6 m (18.5 ft). This species is widespread throughout Southeast Asia and parts of India, and is found mostly in forested areas. The King cobra is not a kind of cobra at all; it belongs to its own genus, and its diet consists primarily of other snakes, including rat snakes, sizeable pythons and even other venomous snakes. The venom of the King Cobra is primarily neurotoxic, and the snake is fully capable of killing a human with a single bite. The mortality rate from a bite can be as high as 75%, or as low as 33%, depending upon treatment details. These snakes have a reputation of being one of the most dangerous asiatic snakes.

Most Venomous Snakes

It's debated which snakes are the most Venomous, and depends on the measure used. The average or the maximum venom yield from milking could be suggested, but these measures can be criticised as not reflecting the impact of a real bite. The measure generally acknowledged as best reflecting how dangerous a snake's venom is, is that of LD50. The lower this number, the less venom is required to cause death. By that measure, the most venomous snake in the world is Australia's inland taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus). The table below gives the top 25 species in order, their LD50, and their distribution.

  1. Inland taipan 0.025 Australia
  2. Eastern brown snake 0.053 Australia
  3. Coastal taipan 0.099 Australia
  4. Tiger snake 0.118 Australia
  5. Black tiger snake 0.131 Australia
  6. Beaked sea snake 0.164 Australia
  7. Black tiger snake (Chappell Island ssp.) 0.194 - 0.338 Australia
  8. Death adder 0.4 Australia
  9. Gwardar 0.473 Australia
  10. Spotted brown snake 0.360 (in bovine serum albumin) Australia
  11. Australian copperhead 0.56 Australia
  12. Cobra 0.565 Asia
  13. Dugite 0.66 Australia
  14. Papuan black snake 1.09 New Guinea
  15. Stephens' banded snake 1.36 Australia
  16. Rough scaled snake 1.36 Australia
  17. King cobra 1.8 Asia
  18. Blue-bellied black snake 2.13 Australia
  19. Collett's snake 2.38 Australia
  20. Mulga snake 2.38 Australia
  21. Red-bellied black snake 2.52 Australia
  22. Small eyed snake 2.67 Australia
  23. Eastern diamond-backed rattlesnake 11.4 North America
  24. Black whipsnake >14.2 Australia
  25. Fer-de-lance >27.8 South America

Symptoms of a Snake Bite

Signs or symptoms associated with a snake bite may vary depending on the type of snake, but may include:

  • Bleeding from wound
  • Blurred vision
  • Burning of the skin
  • Convulsions
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive sweating
  • Fainting
  • Fang marks in the skin
  • Fever
  • Increased thirst
  • Loss of muscle coordination
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Rapid pulse
  • Tissue death
  • Severe pain
  • Skin discoloration
  • Swelling at the site of the bite
  • Weakness

Precautions Towards a Snake

Individuals should take the following steps to prevent a snake bite:

  • Do not try to handle any snake.
  • Stay away from tall grass and piles of leaves when possible.
  • Avoid climbing on rocks or piles of wood where a snake may be hiding.
  • Be aware that snakes tend to be active at night and in warm weather.
  • Wear boots and long pants when working outdoors.
  • Wear leather gloves when handling brush and debris.

First Aid for a Snake Bites

Workers should take the following steps if they are bitten by a snake:

  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible (dial 911 or call local Emergency Medical Services.)
  • Try to remember the color and shape of the snake, which can help with treatment of the snake bite.
  • Keep still and calm. This can slow down the spread of venom.
  • Inform your supervisor.
  • Apply first aid if you cannot get to the hospital right away.
  • Lay or sit down with the bite below the level of the heart.
  • Wash the bite with soap and water.
  • Cover the bite with a clean, dry dressing.

Thing to Avoid with a Snake

Do NOT do any of the following:

  • Do not pick up the snake or try to trap it.
  • Do not wait for symptoms to appear if bitten, seek immediate medical attention.
  • Do not apply a tourniquet.
  • Do not slash the wound with a knife.
  • Do not suck out the venom.
  • Do not apply ice or immerse the wound in water.
  • Do not drink alcohol as a painkiller.
  • Do not drink caffeinated beverages.

Keeping Snakes Out of the Yard

The best protection against rattlesnakes in the yard is a “snake proof” fence. It can be expensive and requires maintenance, however. The fence should either be solid or with mesh no larger than one-quarter inch. It should be at least three feet high with the bottom buried a few inches in the ground. Slanting your snake fence outward about a 30-degree angle will help. Vegetation should be kept away from the fence since the snake could crawl to the top of an adjacent tree or shrub. Discourage snakes by removing piles of boards or rocks around the home. Use caution when removing those piles - there may already be a snake there. Encouraging and protecting natural competitors like gopher snakes, kingsnakes and racers will reduce the rattlesnake population in the immediate area. And, kingsnakes actually kill and eat rattlesnakes.

More information: We hope this page was helpful and provided you with some information on how to identify and avoid venomous snakes. Check out our main page for more survival scenarios here Survival Guide, knowledge is light, and knowledge can save your life. Make sure you do your best to know what to do in a survival situation and then hope for the best.


Related Articles to Venomous Snakes