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Deadly Coral Snake Information and Photos of Other Poisonous Snakes in Texas

Learning about the fellow creatures that share the planet with us is always of interest to me.

Coral Snake

Coral Snake

Be On the Alert!

There are only four dangerous types of snakes that inhabit parts of the United States. The coral snake is the most deadly of all four. The others are copperheads, rattlesnakes, and cottonmouths, which are also known as water moccasins. We have all four of these poisonous snakes in Texas. Aren’t we the lucky ones! Haha!

Coral snakes, scarlet kingsnakes, and milk snakes can look quite similar. However, if there is any yellow coloration with red against yellow beware!

There is an old saying which goes like this: “Red touches yellow, kill a fellow. Red touch black, a friend of Jack.” I am not sure who came up with that rhyme, but if it or variations of it serve to identify the poisonous coral snake and a person remembers it because of the verse, then it serves a useful purpose. Coral snakes also have black noses.

Coral snake closeup

Coral snake closeup

This video above shows the nonpoisonous scarlet king snake.

Most of the time, coral snakes hide under the ground in burrows or places like piles of leaves. They are most active at night or early mornings. They are a reclusive snake and only attack if feeling threatened.

Coral Snakes

If they attack, these particular snakes latch on to their subjects, and the neurotoxins seep into the wound, causing respiratory and cardiac arrest.

Because few people are killed each year by coral snakes, the cost of producing antivenin is becoming prohibitive. That is scary! So with a severe shortage of antivenom available, it pays to know how to identify coral snakes. It also pays to avoid startling them in the wild if stumbling upon them by accident.

There are different types of coral snakes living in Florida, Texas, and Arizona, but all are equally deadly to a person being bitten by them. Watch the video above to see the dangerous coral snake in Florida and the comparison of a non-deadly milk snake.

Three species of coral snake are found in the United States.

Three species of coral snake are found in the United States.

Safety Measures and Precautions

Usually, unless feeling threatened, most snakes shy away from people. That is good, but there are still some common sense things to do to avoid snake encounters.

Snakes usually like to hide in the underbrush, fallen leaves, fallen logs, rock outcroppings, or burrows. So obviously, it pays to keep debris piles from building up around one's home.

If hiking out in a wooded area, be careful if stepping over things like logs where you cannot see where you might be stepping. Wearing sturdy shoes or boots are some protection.

Tromping with heavy footsteps can ward off snakes since they feel vibrations in the ground. I used to think that making verbal noise helped, but apparently, that is a false assertion. So whistle or sing while you walk if you wish, but only if it pleases you.

Be extra careful and stay alert if walking along waterways. Supposedly water moccasins can be quite aggressive and even chase people. Yikes!

Other Poisonous Snakes in Texas

Photos of the other three poisonous snakes in Texas are on display in this article for identification purposes.

My mother once had some copperheads in the shrubbery around her home. They were discovered by some workmen who were installing new siding on her house. They killed the snakes. Most often, if snakes are in the wild, it is best to leave them alone.

One thing we discovered, and which I have used it to good effect is the following. Snakes do not like the smell of mothballs. Even though it was just some type of non-poisonous snake hanging out in our garden, I put out mothballs, and the snake went elsewhere.

I know that snakes serve a valuable purpose. It is less likely that rodents will be hanging around the same area where a snake lives. Despite knowing that, I cannot help myself in uttering an involuntary shriek whenever I see a snake up close in our yard. So I always have mothballs as a defense. Fortunately, I have only had to haul out that arsenal a few times. In reading about what repels snakes, some people think that the mothball idea is bogus. All I know is that it has personally worked for us.

Poisonous Snakes


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2016 Peggy Woods


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 15, 2019:

Hi C E Clark,

You make a good point. People should take precautions when hiking out in the wild.

C E Clark from North Texas on December 13, 2019:

Texas is not a place for the faint of heart. Hikers should definitely be wearing their high boots to protect from snakes and various insects and even some plants. My late husband was a native Texan and was always surprised at the number of people who went hiking in flip-flops, including Texas natives who should know better.

Posting this to AH & FB.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 24, 2019:

Hi Dale,

Yikes! I would not be a happy camper being surrounded by slithering snakes in abundance like you were when growing up in Australia. I do realize that they are a part of nature and that they do some essential things, but I would rather steer clear of them and let them function out of sight. (Smile)

Dale Anderson from The High Seas on May 24, 2019:

Ah snakes, you think I'd have had enough of them by now, right? I grew up in Australia (i.e. Land Of Snakes!) where I lived ion a farm that was crawling, or rather, slithering with the little devils. When I moved to the coast, I spent an awful lot of time snorkeling and, yup, more snakes. I guess I've gotten used to them over the years.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 15, 2018:

Hi Patricia,

Like you, I admire the colors of snakes from afar. I shy away from all of them and hopefully they will always do the same should we ever meet up close.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on July 15, 2018:

As I mentioned in another article of yours about snakes I am not a fan of them. However I do find them beautiful. Knowing about venomous snakes makes us more wary when out hiking which my friends and I do often. thanks once again for sharing this with us. Angels are headed your way bringing blessings and hugs and love this morning ps

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 21, 2017:

Hi Nell,

I agree that the coral snake is pretty but also deadly. I have never personally seen one in the wild although I know that they are out there.

Nell Rose from England on December 20, 2017:

Phew! that guy kept getting bitten by the safe one! but its a great thing to remember, the red touches yellow etc! so pretty though for something so deadly!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 26, 2017:

Hi Jill,

Like you, I would not want to stick around long enough for an in depth study of whether that coastal plain milk snake was poisonous or not. I would exit quickly from that scene.

Jill Spencer from United States on June 26, 2017:

We have coastal plain milk snakes here, which are harmless but look a lot like coral snakes. It's hard to remember that rhyme when you walk right into one!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 13, 2017:

Hi Mary,

Wow! If we were neighbors I would definitely call upon your husband to help remove snakes from our yard. Even garden snakes give me a scare. I know that they are good but I would just as soon they live elsewhere. Fortunately I have never spotted a coral snake in our garden or yard. My mother did have some copperheads where she used to live.

Mary Wickison from USA on June 12, 2017:

We have the coral snake where we live in Brazil. The neighbors know my husband is in to snakes and call him over to remove boas and others from their garden.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 14, 2016:

Hi Susie,

Nice not to have to worry about poisonous snakes where you live. I agree that some snakes are absolutely beautiful with the color variations. Since we have so many poisonous ones down here...I just shy away from them when possible.

Susie Lehto from Minnesota on June 11, 2016:

The only reason I do not mind snakes here in the northland is because they are not poison snakes. Some colorful snakes sure are beautiful creatures though, its amazing how they get around so fast on their bellies.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 29, 2016:

Hi Robert,

That is good advice. I'm not one who would need that warning as I would automatically go the other way if confronted with a snake.

Robert Sacchi on May 29, 2016:

Yes, the best advise with snakes is if you don't know for sure keep your distance.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 28, 2016:

Hi Robert,

That was good thinking on your cousin's part. Good thing that snake was not poisonous.

Robert Sacchi on May 26, 2016:

Years ago my cousin, who was about 12 at the time, got bitten by a snake. He had the presence of mind to bring the snake back to where they were staying. This shocked him mother. There was someone around who knew a lot about snakes and told my aunt it wasn't poisonous.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 25, 2016:

Hi Robert,

Agreed. Good to know the generalities in any case particularly if in the unlucky position of being bitten. At least one can report to health care personnel as to what the snake might have been. Could make a difference in the treatment.

Robert Sacchi on May 23, 2016:

I guess a good thing to remember about color patterns is they are good general rules but don't bet the farm on it or you might buy the farm :-)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 23, 2016:

Hi Robert,

That is a shame if the color is not 100% reliable. In my particular case it would not matter as I would shy away from any kind of snake no matter what color it happens to be. They can go their way...and I'll go mine. Ha!

Robert Sacchi on May 21, 2016:

An informative article. I remember reading an article that the color pattern of the coral snake isn't 100% reliable. Some of them have non standard color patterns.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 16, 2016:

Hi agusfanani,

I hop on in to HubPages when I have time. Sometimes a few days go by when I get busy doing other things. Wishing you a wonderful day also. :)

agusfanani from Indonesia on May 15, 2016:

Hi Peggy W,

No problem. Thank you for your explanation. Have a beautiful day !:))

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 15, 2016:

Hi Austinstar,

Wow! Bob was very fortunate that he was not bitten by that coral snake. You probably feel lucky as well as it might not have turned out so well. Good thing he was alert to the fact of it being a coral snake and took immediate action to dispatch it. Take care!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 15, 2016:

Hi agusfanani,

Sorry for the late response. I have been busy on my own website and am behind on my comments for this site. That is a shame that performer did not realize the danger of working with cobra snakes and died because of being bitten by one. I have to approve the comments before they go live which is why your first one did not show up.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 14, 2016:

Hi FlourishAnyway,

You have certainly had some encounters with poisonous snakes up close and personal. Glad the outcomes were good. You were obviously lucky! That just proves that no matter where a person lives there is always the possibility of encountering snakes...unless one lives in Ireland. Maybe there are also some other islands somewhere that do not have snakes. :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 14, 2016:

Hi Genna,

The only snakes I have ever spotted on our property in Houston were the non-poisonous types and those times were rare...fortunately. I am also afraid of them even though I know they serve a good purpose. As to leaving Texas...I love living here so I will put up with the possibility of snakes. Living here in the city they are less likely than out in the country.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 14, 2016:

Hi Frank,

You are right in that most snakes would rather avoid encounters with us. But better to be safe rather than sorry!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 11, 2016:

Hi Au fait,

Yes...we certainly have our fair share of "critters" here in Texas. The heat has definitely started. High 80's up to 90 degrees. With the humidity that is hot. We still have a lot of standing water left over from the recent floods. Some major roads still closed to traffic. Appreciate the share.

agusfanani from Indonesia on May 10, 2016:

Hi Peggy W,

I think I've given my comments on this hub but I don't what happened that I can't see it. There are several poisonous snakes in my country, Javanese cobra and zebra patterned snakes are two examples to mention. Snakes are hated as well as liked by people, your story reminds me to a female singer who died because she was bitten by her partner on stage, a Javanese cobra. Ironically she didn't realize the danger of the bite until she was hopeless and died one hour after the incident. Thank you for your interesting story Peggy w.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 10, 2016:

Kiss andTales,

Thanks for the compliment. Better to be aware than not when it comes to poisonous snakes.

Lela from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on May 10, 2016:

Wow Peggy, what a timely hub! Bob just stepped on a coral snake in our back yard! He chopped it up with a shovel. But it did almost bite him!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 09, 2016:

Hi Jackie,

You were indeed lucky that you were not bitten by that copperhead if you were that close to it. Appreciate the share.

agusfanani from Indonesia on May 09, 2016:

Hi Peggy W,

Here we have several poisonous snakes . Cobra and zebra-patterned snakes are two popular names as examples. There was a female singer bitten by a cobra which happened on the stage she'd done her performance. The cobra was her partner in doing the job. She didn't realize the danger and got no medical treatment after the biting which caused her to die one hour later.

FlourishAnyway from USA on May 08, 2016:

About two years ago I was hiking in a park down near the river and it was a sunny morning. My daughter and husband were both off trail and I was following. They had stepped over a fallen tree easily but I almost put my hand directly on a moccasin that was sunning itself on the tree. I about pooped my pants it gave me the sillies so bad. As a child I had a similar experience in almost stepping on a huge copperhead that crossed my path. Maybe I should stay indoors. Glad I don't live in Texas! Virginia is bad enough snake country!

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on May 07, 2016:

Oops, I stand corrected. Hubby just informed me that we have two in New England, although they are rare: The Timber Rattlesnake and the Copperhead. I've never seen a snake on our property of any kind. (Skunks are another matter). But I'm buying mothballs tomorrow!

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on May 07, 2016:

Mothballs. Who knew? Reptiles and rodents give me the chilly willies. Poisonous snakes literally petrify me. Thank goodness the workers found those copperheads hiding underneath the shrubbery at your mother's house before she did. It's odd that Texas has all 4 species of these nasty little critters. We don't have them in New England. And I had no idea the Cottonmouth was in the US. Peg, if I lived in Texas, I would move after discovering this. Seriously. :-( This is such an interesting hub.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 07, 2016:

Hi AliciaC,

Snakes are interesting and many of them are quite beautiful. That being said I will happily view them from afar. Nice that you do not have to worry about any poisonous ones in your area of Canada.

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on May 06, 2016:

Snakes are complexed creatures.. and I learned something new here today about the snakes in other parts.. we have the Copperheads.. but I find if you leave them alone they leave you alone.. we have many trails here.. but they don't attack if you just walk by.. so far.. I think :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 06, 2016:

Hi Kaili Bisson,

Nice that you only have the one type of rattlesnake where you live and even better...the fact that you have never run across one. Thanks for your comment.

C E Clark from North Texas on May 06, 2016:

Texas does have a lot of poisonous critters. Seems like it's full of briars and thorns and nettle and vicious little creatures like fire ants, wasps, recluse spiders, water moccasins, and coral snakes just to name a few. Only Australia has more nasty critters than Texas

Excellent and informative article as always, and great photos. Sharing with my followers and pinned to Awesome HubPages.

Hope you are well and preparing for the heat which is surly just around the corner by now.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 06, 2016:

Hi Austinstar,

I am sure people on ranches have more occasion to see these poisonous snakes than the rest of us who live in cities. What you wrote about the centipedes was interesting. Apparently they are widespread in Greece also. I learned that from my neighbor who spent much of her childhood visiting her grandmother there. As to the safe!

Kiss andTales on May 06, 2016:

Thank your hub is important even to face a fear people may one day experience. You are a good writer in more then one way .thank you for sharing

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 06, 2016:

Hello Kiss andTales,

What an interesting story! Yes...some people are like that also...sadly.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on May 05, 2016:

I have always used the mothballs too and I once had a copperheads mouth right against my bare foot. It was heavy with eggs I guess is all that saved me from being bitten but my husband killed it and I cannot say I am sorry! I mean snakes just keep breeding and multiplying and I cannot see why we need them. The poisonous ones anyway. lol

Great fun hub. Shared.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 05, 2016:

Hello norlawrence,

I can admire snakes from afar but avoid them like the plague if anywhere nearby. Hopefully we will never have to encounter a poisonous one. They can obviously do great harm to pets as well as people.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 04, 2016:

I'm very lucky that there are no venomous snakes where I live, although there are rattlesnakes elsewhere in the province. I've remembered the first part of the saying about coral snakes that you quote ever since I first heard it, even though I'm not likely to encounter one of these animals in real life. I enjoyed reading all the information that you shared. I think that all snakes are interesting, even the dangerous ones!

Kaili Bisson from Canada on May 04, 2016:

Hi Peggy...very informative. We have the Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake here, but I have never encountered one. They tend to live in one part of the province only, which is a good thing!

Lela from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on May 03, 2016:

I have run up on Cotton mouths a couple of times. Bob has found several Coral snakes here on the ranch, and one rattlesnake made an appearance in the 24 years we have been here.

In Hawaii, it was centipedes. They were everywhere and they actually bite. We had quite a few tourists coming to the hospital for centipede bites.

I won't mess with snakes if they don't mess with me or my pets. But they seem to be increasing in numbers, especially in the Spring.

What I really hate are all the scorpions out here in the HIll Country around Austin!

Kiss andTales on May 03, 2016:

Very interesting animal . I was reading about an India woman who owned a small python .the story goes like this she would feed him his regular habitat food which mice would be in the diet. But this changed and he just would not eat nothing. She became worried sonce since he refuse to eat but he would rest beside her as usual with affection .

So she worried to the point of going to the animal vet specialist. He asked about the habits and movement .

He told her the reason he was not eating was because he had sized her up to feed on . his movement as laying straight was like a measuring stick , his circurling her meant the same. He would not eat because he need room to digest her.

So the story ends It did not say what she did after that info.

But it was a moral to the true story beware of people who will cling to you size you up only waiting for the right time to devour you.

Wise words.

I had to share this with your hub on the subject of danger.

Thanks for your informitive hub on these creatures.

Norma Lawrence from California on May 03, 2016:

Great article. I do not like snakes but your article was very good with a lot of information. It was presnted very well. The pictures were awesome.


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