Snakes of Florida

There are 45 native snakes species found in Florida and of those only 6 are venomous! Do you know how to identify those 6 venomous snakes? There are a few things about venomous snakes that make them stand apart from nonvenomous species. First, the shape of a venomous snake is more like a triangle as a nonvenomous snake’s head is oblong or oval. Next, Florida venomous snakes have elliptical shaped pupils (cat eyes). Also, these snakes also have facial pits between their nostrils and eyes. These pits are used as heat sensors to detect their prey. Finally, Florida venomous snakes give live birth to their babies.

The following venomous snakes follow these rules:
Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
Timber or Canebreak Rattlesnake
Southern Copperhead
Cottonmouth Moccasin

Venomous Snake that does NOT follow rule
Eastern Coral Snake

Like most things there is always and exception to the rule. The Eastern Coral Snake is the only venomous snake with on oval head, round pupils. This snake does not give birth to live babies as do the other venomous snakes and neither does it have a facial pit.

What do you do if you see a snake and you are not sure if it is venomous or not? Leave it alone and go the other way. Most people do not like snakes but they do play an important roll in our ecological system. Most snakes feed on rodents that can carry diseases that maybe harmful to humans. These snakes help to keep the rodent population down. In addition, there are also nonvenomous snakes in Florida that will kill and eat venomous snakes, these include the Eastern Indigo Snake and the King Snake. Therefore, killing a snake is not always the best option.

What do you do if you are bitten by a venomous snake? First, you must try to remain calm. Do not try to catch the snake, the medical professionals will only need a description of the snake. Very importantly, seek medical help immediately.


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Posted: May 28, 2020

Category: 4-H & Youth, Wildlife
Tags: 4-H, Florida Snakes, Snakes

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