So you think you know your venomous snakes?
Of the three red, yellow and black colored snakes below, do
you know which two are harmless and which one is venomous (don't cheat and look at the titles below the photos!)?
The Scarlet, Scarlet Kingsnake and Coral snake are all secretive, fossorial
species that spend most of their lives undeground. The three snakes may possess similar colors, but they are distinctive, individual
species. Scarlet snakes prefer drier habiats of flatwoods and sandhills, whereas Scarlet Kingsnakes are found in wetter
habiats of wet flatwoods and various wetlands ecosystems.
Coral snakes are more general in nature and can be found in a variety of southern
ecosystems and are actually quite common but rarely ever seen. Coral snakes prey upon many other snake species,
including both the Scarlet and Scarlet Kingsnake. Venomous Coral snakes are actually more closely related to Cobras
(than our other venomous snakes in the U.S., the Pit-vipers) and belong to the family Elapidae and possess primarily a neurotoxic
venom (Pit-vipers posses moreso a hemotoxic venom).
Any snake that you may encounter with a pattern of red, yellow and black
bands should be avoided if all possible and dealt with cautiously. If in doubt as to what species you may be seeing, the
following poem may help:
"Red and yellow
kill a fellow, red and black venom lack (or friend of Jack)"
Without cheating, which snake below is the Coral Snake?