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Florida Reptiles and Amphibians
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Venomous Snakes

On this page - Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, Canebrake rattler, Pygmy Rattlesnake, Water Moccasin, Coral Snake, Copperhead

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake - Crotalus adamanteus

Eastern Diamondback rattlesnake Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake.

The Eastern Diamondback is found in all of Florida & although it is most common in pine and palmetto Flatwoods it may be found in virtually any type of habitat.

Eastern Diamondbacks get large (up to eight feet), and are a heavy bodied snake. This is a very dangerous snake, having a copious amount of venom, a fast strike and the ability to strike to 2/3 of its body's length. Diamondbacks are named for the distinctive diamond pattern on their backs.

When they feel threatened, a Diamondback will usually coil up with its head raised and neck in a -S- position ready to strike. Note - Rattlesnakes do not always rattle, so don't rely on this to warn you of a nearby snake.

Canebrake rattler or Timber rattler - Crotalus horridus

A Timber rattler, also called the cane-break rattler.

The Timber rattler is present in northern Florida from roughly Volusia county northward on the east coast and Levy county north on the west. Its range continues north to Maine and west to Texas.

The Timber rattler can be a heavy bodied snake and is best given a wide berth, it has excellent camouflage and tends to lay motionless waiting in ambush for prey. Habitat is generally damp areas near and around cane thickets, low lying hammocks, swamps, river, creek and stream banks. Adults average in size from 3 to 5 feet in length, the official record is 74.5 inches. Timber rattlers have a pattern of brown to black cross bands on a yellowish brown to grayish background. The cross bands have irregular edges and sometimes are "V" or "M" shaped.

Pygmy Rattlesnake - Sistrurus miliarius barbouri

Pygmy Rattlesnake

Also found throughout Florida, this small snake measures 18 inches or less in length & although they have lesser quantities of venom than the Diamondback it is more potent.

A grey background coloration coupled with its small size can make it difficult to spot. The Pygmy rattlesnake has alternating reddish-copper colored markings along its back.

Pygmy rattlers tend to be aggressive and quick to strike, their rattle can only be heard for a few feet & resembles an insect buzzing.

Cottonmouth or Water Moccasin - Agkistrodon piscivorous conanti

Water moccasin Cottonmouth shows inside of its mouth

The Cottonmouth grows to over 5 feet in length, with somewhat variable coloration. Water Moccasins range from a bland brownish color to nearly black & may or may not have visible darker cross bands.

As the name implies this is a water snake found around swamps, marshes, lakes and ponds. A nocturnal hunter, it usually rests near the water during daylight hours.

The Cottonmouth is unpredictable in that some individuals are very aggressive, this is the only snake that will sometimes actually pursue anyone that intrudes into its space, whereas other snakes will retreat if possible.

Copperhead - Agkistrodon contortrix

This Copperhead is  on the alert.

The Copperhead has a limited range within Florida, reported from 7 counties in the western panhandle and Apalachicola river valley.

While bites to healthy adults are usually not fatal, children and those with health problems are at higher risk.

Average adult Copperhead size is 2 to 3 feet long, maximum recorded size is 53 inches. Light brown to gray cross bands alternate with those of darker brown to reddish brown. Southern Copperheads sometimes have a overall pinkish tint.

Preferred habitat is low lying wet areas in and around swamps, ravines and river beds.

Coral Snake - Micrurus fulvius fulvius

Coral Snake The Coral snake is a slim bodied snake.

Unlike the other venomous snakes listed here the Coral snake is shy and secretive by nature, spending most of its time burrowing under leaf litter or fallen trees looking for its prey... small snakes, frogs, and lizards.

The body is banded with black, yellow and red rings with the red and yellow bands touching. The poison is similar to Cobra venom, it is a neurotoxin.

Symptoms of a bite may be somewhat delayed and include slurred speech, double or blurred vision and difficulty swallowing, possibly progressing to respiratory and cardiac collapse.

Most bites from the Coral snake come about as a result of careless handling the snake.