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Poisonous Snakes of United States

Rattlesnakes Copperheads Coral Snakes Cottonmouth 

Pictures of Snakes        Snake Repellents    Snake Traps

Recognizing a Venomous Bite

All poisonous snakes have 2 large fangs which are located in the upper front portion of the mouth.  If the victim is bitten and the snake escapes before the identification can be made, the following signs should be noted:

  • One to two punctures made by the hollow fangs.  Pain following within 5 to 10 minutes accompanied by swelling and discoloration around the bite area.  These symptoms will progress up the victim's extremity.  If the fang enters a vein or artery, these symptoms may not be present.
  • Coral Snake bites differ from Pit Viper bites.  Their venom is neurotoxic in nature.  The bite is usually not painful, little or no swelling or discoloration is present.  Symptoms may be delayed for several hours but when they do occur, they progress rapidly.  Symptoms include nausea, drowsiness, vomiting, marked salivation and difficulty in breathing.  Paralysis is also noted in Coral Snake invenomation.

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Rattlesnakes (Crotalus spp)

Characteristics of Pit Viper Snakes:

  • Large fangs; nonpoisonous snakes have small teeth.
  • The two fangs of a poisonous snake are hollow and work like a hypodermic needle.
  • Pupils resemble vertical slits.
  • Presence of a pit. Pit vipers have a telltale pit between the eye and the mouth. The pit, a heat-sensing organ, makes it possible for the snake to accurately strike a warm-blooded victim, even if the snake cannot see the victim.
  • A triangular or arrowhead shaped head.
  • The rattlesnake often shakes its rattles as a warning, BUT NOT ALWAYS!

One snake that is not a pit viper snake but is poisonous is the coral snake. The coral snake is highly poisonous and resembles a number of nonpoisonous snakes. It does not have fangs and has round pupils. Because its mouth is so small and its teeth are short, most coral snakes inflict bites on the toes and fingers. They have to chew the skin a while to inject venom. Coral snakes are small and ringed with red, yellow, and black. The chances for recovery of a snakebite are great if the patient receives care within two hours of the bite.


Copperheads (Agkistrodon Contortrix)

Coral snakes (Micrurus Fulvius)

Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon Piscivorus)snake pictures, snakes

Our thanks and gratitude to Dr. Andrew Kouloulis, noted herpetologist, for permission to use his research and pictures provided on these pages.  Information taken from Dr. Kouloulis' Poisonous Snake Chart.


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Snake Repellent

Snake Trap

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