Guide to Florida's Venomous Snakes

Southern Copperhead, Copperhead, Highland Moccasin, Chunkhead
Cottonmouth, Florida Cottonmouth, Water Moccasin
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, Rattlesnake, Rattler
Timber Rattlesnake, Canebrake Rattlesnake
Dusky Pigmy Rattlesnake, Pigmy Rattler, Ground Rattler
Eastern Coral Snake, Coral Snake

Although 50 species of snakes are found in Florida, only the 6 listed here are venomous and a danger to humans. The remaining 44 species (and its subspecies) are harmless and should be protected for the beneficial role they play in natural ecosytems, eating insects, rodents, rabbits, and other small prey. If you are interested in all of our snakes, then you should visit our Online Guide to the Fla. Snakes.

A word of caution is warranted here. If you find a snake and you do not know whether or not it is venomous, the safest thing to do is leave it alone. Florida snakes are not aggressive and, unless they are cornered, most will flee when humans approach. Occasionally, you might encounter one that is reluctant to leave because it is basking in the sun to get warm. Among snakebite victims, an unacceptably high number are bitten on the hands and arms when they are handling the snake. Do not catch a snake and do not handle one unless you are sure it is not venomous.In addition, for a short time after a snake is killed, its reflexes may continue to work. Those reflexes typically cause the body to writhe slowly for awhile, but they can cause a convulsive contraction and a bite, so you should not handle a freshly killed venomous snake. Our Online Guide to the Fla. Snakes contains a Key to Identification which will identify any Florida snake you might find and tell you whether it is vemonous or harmless.

The only acceptable treatment for venomous snakebite, involves the use of antivenin. So if you or someone else is bitten by a venomous snake, seek immediate medical attention at the nearest hospital or medical facility. Stay calm, remove any rings that could restrict circulation if tissues swell, keep the bitten limb below the level of the heart, and immediately seek medical attention. Your most important aids in getting to a hospital and treatment may be car keys or a cell phone.

The snake descriptions given above include characteristics that are relatively easy for the layman to see, though a few might require a close look at the snake, so we again caution you: Do not catch or handle a snake if you do not know whether it is venomous or harmless. To keep the descriptions short and simple, other characteristics known to herpetologists are not mentioned here.

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