Know Your SSSSSSnakes!

Georgia has 57 different species of snakes residing in a variety of habitats all over the state.

Only 4 types are dangerous, or "Venomous": copper head, rattle snake, cotton mouth, and coral.

The rest are harmless, or "Non-venomous".

Timber Rattlesnake

You can tell the venomous from the non-venomous by looking at the snake's eye- but not too closely!

If the pupil (the small black area that lets in light) is shaped like a cat's pupil, then the snake is venomous.

If the pupil is round, like yours, then the snake is non-venomous.

Another nifty way is to look at the belly scales towards the end of the snake's tail. There is a special scale called the anal plate, or vent. The scales from the vent to the end of the tail will change depending on whether it is venomous or not.

If the scales are divided, then the snake is non-venomous. If the scales are singular, the snake is venomous.

Remember it this way: Non-venomous is two words- so the snake has two scales. Venomous is one word- so the snake has one scale. The chart below shows belly scales from vent to end of tail.
Which one is venomous?


"I saw a snake by a pond. Was it a water moccasin?"

Well, it depends on where you live. Non-venomous Water Snakes look similar to Water Moccasins. Look here for some tips about the two.

Here's another link with great useful information on water moccasins:

"Master, how do you tell a coral snake from a scarlet kingsnake? They both have red, black and yellow colors, so what is the difference?"

Ahh, grasshopper, look at the color red, and you will see.

If red touches yellow, it will kill a fellow.

If red touches black, it's a friend of Jack.


Which one is the coral snake?

Friendly Advice from Mr. Trails:

Snakes are not mean animals and will not chase you down. They want to escape rather than risk death and fight. But if the snake cannot escape, then it will strike out to defend itself.

Always watch your step when walking through the woods or fields because they have excellent camouflage.

Be aware of what snakes like to eat and what habitat their prey would be found.

If bitten by a venomous snake, remain calm and get to a doctor as soon as possible. Identify the snake to help the medical staff treat you more accurately. There you will get the best treatment and observation.

Did you know there is a snake in Georgia on the Endangered Species List?

It is the Eastern Indigo snake. (See this great link about the Indigo! Picture and facts!)

It is threatened and in trouble due to loss of habitat.

Snakes may seem scary to some, but unfortunately have a bad reputation. They are an important part of the grand natural world and just as important as any mammal, fish, insect or amphibian. The more we learn about these fascinating reptiles, the more we can appreciate these wildlife wonders.