There are four main types of poisonous snakes in North Carolina: copperheads cottonmouths rattlesnakes and timber rattlesnakes. Each of these snakes has a different method of delivering venom and each is capable of causing serious injury or even death if not treated promptly.
Copperheads are the most common type of poisonous snake in North Carolina and are found in every county in the state. These snakes are relatively small with adults averaging 2-3 feet in length. Copperheads are distinguished by their brown or reddish-brown coloration triangular head shape and vertical pupils. These snakes are generally shy and non-aggressive but will bite if provoked. Copperheads prefer to hunt at night and their venom is primarily hemotoxic causing tissue damage and destruction of red blood cells.
Cottonmouths also known as water moccasins are large snakes that can grow to over 6 feet in length. These snakes are dark brown or black in color with a characteristic white or cream-colored “collar” around their neck. Cottonmouths are found near bodies of water such as rivers lakes and swamps and are excellent swimmers. These snakes are aggressive and will readily attack if provoked. Their venom is cytotoxic causing tissue necrosis and internal bleeding.
Rattlesnakes are a group of snakes that includes several different species all of which are found in North Carolina. The most common rattlesnake in the state is the Eastern diamondback which can grow to over 8 feet in length. Other common rattlesnakes in North Carolina include the Western diamondback timber rattlesnake and copperhead. Rattlesnakes are distinguished by the presence of a “rattle” at the end of their tail which they use to warn predators of their presence. These snakes are generally shy and non-aggressive but will attack if threatened or cornered. Rattlesnake venom is primarily neurotoxic causing paralysis and tissue damage.
Timber rattlesnakes are the largest and most dangerous type of snake found in North Carolina. These snakes can grow to over 6 feet in length and are usually gray or brown in color with dark bands across their body. Timber rattlesnakes are found in the western part of the state in mountains and forested areas. These snakes are shy and non-aggressive but will attack if provoked. Their venom is primarily cytotoxic causing tissue necrosis and internal bleeding.
Which venomous snakes are found in North Carolina?
There are six species of venomous snakes found in North Carolina- the Eastern copperhead the Northern copperhead the Timber rattlesnake the Eastern diamondback rattlesnake the Pygmy rattlesnake and the Eastern coral snake.
Where in North Carolina are venomous snakes most likely to be found?
Copperheads and rattlesnakes are most commonly found in the western part of North Carolina while coral snakes are found mostly in the coastal plain region.
How can you tell if a snake is venomous?
In North Carolina all venomous snakes are Pit Vipers meaning they have a triangular head pits between the eye and nostril and elliptical pupils.
What should you do if you are bitten by a venomous snake?
Immediately call 911 and try to remain calm.
Do not try to capture the snake or cut the wound.
What are the symptoms of a venomous snake bite?
Symptoms of a venomous snake bite include intense pain swelling nausea vomiting diarrhea sweating blurred vision and fainting.
Can venomous snake bites be prevented?
Yes venomous snake bites can be prevented by avoiding areas where snakes are likely to be found being cautious when hiking or camping and wearing long pants and closed-toe shoes when outdoors.
What is the difference between venomous and poisonous snakes?
Venomous snakes have fangs and release venom when they bite while poisonous snakes do not have fangs and release venom when they are eaten.
Which is more dangerous- a venomous or poisonous snake?
A venomous snake is more dangerous because their venom can cause serious injury or death when injected into the body.
Are all snakes dangerous?
No not all snakes are dangerous.
In fact most snakes are not dangerous and can actually be beneficial to the environment.
What do snakes eat?
Snakes eat a variety of prey including rodents birds lizards and other snakes.
What is the longest venomous snake in North Carolina?
The longest venomous snake in North Carolina is the Eastern diamondback rattlesnake which can grow up to 8 feet in length.
What is the smallest venomous snake in North Carolina?
The smallest venomous snake in North Carolina is the Pygmy rattlesnake which only grows to be about 16 inches in length.
How often do venomous snakes bite people in North Carolina?
There are an average of 100 venomous snake bites reported in North Carolina each year.
Are there any non-venomous snakes in North Carolina?
Yes there are several species of non-venomous snakes found in North Carolina including the black rat snake the corn snake and the garter snake.
What should you do if you see a snake?
If you see a snake stay away from it and do not try to catch it.