Although snakes can be found all over Texas, there are only four types that are actually Venomous. Rattlesnakes, Coral snakes, Copperheads, and Water Moccasins (also called Cottonmouths) can all be found throughout Texas and are not only dangerous, but can even be deadly. Therefore it is extremely important to familiarize yourself and others with their appearance, colors, and distinguishable features. Rattlesnakes, Copperheads, and Water Moccasins are all species designated within the Pit Viper group. That means that they all share noticeable features despite being different species. Coral Snakes are not part of the Pit Viper group and their heads are not much noticeably larger than the rest of their body. Coral Snakes also have round eyes and fixed position fangs that are much shorter than Pit Vipers. They are commonly found with fangs about 1/8” long which are just a fraction of the length of most Pit Vipers. There are many other Non-Venomous snakes commonly found within Texas as well but offer little to no serious harm. However many will still bite if threatened which can cause a serious infection if not properly taken care of.
Rattlesnake – There are 10 different types of Rattlesnakes commonly found in Texas and have a wide range of color variation as well as size. They can range anywhere from the largest species called the Large Timber Rattler to the smallest species, the Pigmy Rattler. The other species include the Prairie Rattler, Massasauga, Western Diamondback, Mojave, Black-Tail Rattler, Banded Rock Rattler, and the Mottled Rock Rattler. Regardless of the Rattlesnake species, they all have some common characteristics. The Rattlesnakes trademark feature is the rattle that is located at the end of its tail. Being of the Pit Viper Group which is often referred to as the arrow heads, they have a large triangle shaped head that is noticeably larger than their neck region. They also tend to have elliptical eyes, heat sensing pits located on their head, and have large retractable fangs located on their upper jaw.
Copperhead – There are 3 different types of Copperheads that are found in Texas. The Southern Copperhead and Broadband Copperhead are the most common and can be found all over Texas. The Trans-Pecos Copperhead is the rarest and is typically only found around the Big Bend and surrounding areas. Copperheads also have a large triangle shaped head that is noticeably larger than their neck region. They have elliptical eyes, heat sensing pits located on their head, and have large retractable fangs located on their upper jaw. They are commonly recognized by their copper coloring that covers both their body and head. Their body is marked by shades of darker brown bands that are commonly in a slight half hourglass shape.
Water Moccasin (Cottonmouth) – Water Moccasins are commonly known for their aggression and are one of the few snakes that will actually approach or confront someone when startled. They are also the only Venomous water snake found within North America. They are a semi-aquatic species so they are most commonly found around a large body of water. Water Moccasins also have a large triangle shaped head that is noticeably larger than their neck region. They have elliptical eyes, heat sensing pits located on their head, and have large retractable fangs located on their upper jaw. They are usually either dark brown, black, or dark olive in color depending on region. Their underside is also noticeably lighter than their top color and is often blotchy with dark regions. Water Moccasins are often referred to as Cottonmouths because they are regularly seen with their mouths open which in turn exposes the white inner layer of their mouth.
Coral Snake – Coral Snakes are often found much smaller than any of the three species discussed above and are not part of the Pit Viper group. Most adults are found to grow about 27 inches long. The Coral Snake that is found in Texas is the only species of Coral that has cross bands of Yellow, Black, and Red that the Yellow and Red bands touch. Hence the common saying, “Red against Yellow kills a fellow, Red against Black, poison lack”. They are often confused with Milk Snakes, King Snakes, or Scarlet Snakes which have the same color combination but do not share the same color band sequence. Their head is also relatively the same width as the remainder of their body unlike Pit Vipers. Coral Snakes also have much smaller fangs than those species found within the Pit Viper group and often do not have bites with enough penetration to inject full dosages of Venom. Many people have reported being bitten or struck by a Coral Snake but did not show any signs of Venom within their blood stream or any of the symptoms commonly reported from being bitten by a Venomous snake.
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