Thanks for checking out my article on venomous snakes in North Carolina. Yes this
is a sports blog but its mostly directed at Carolina Panthers fans. Since most
Panthers fans live in North Carolina
and enjoy the outdoors, I thought this may be of interest.
has plenty of outdoor fun during the spring and summer months, but with the fun
comes snakes. However we only have 6 different breeds of venomous snakes in North Carolina. I will
list the ones that are venomous and a little about each one. I will also
provide tips for avoiding them, and what to do if you ARE bitten.
The Copperhead is
probably the most common venomous snake in North Carolina, thus the more likely to bite
you. However the Copperhead's venom is relatively mild and a human death from
their bites are rare. They are called Copperheads due to the copper color of
their heads. The body is usually tan colored but can have a pinkish tint. They
have dark bands usually hour glass shaped on them. Baby Copperheads have a yellow
tip on their tails. They will live just about anywhere in North Carolina. They like to be near streams
but will be found in many different types of habitats. My daughter was bitten
by one a few years ago as a child and only spent a couple of hours in the
Rattlesnake is pinkish to tan in color. It has brown to black blotches on the
body. It has a stripe down it's back and one from the jaw to the eye. They like
to live in forests and sometimes swampy areas and of course cane fields.
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
This is the biggest
venomous snake found in North America, much less North Carolina. Some 8 feet long have been
captured. They tend to feed on larger mammals than most snakes, such as
squirrels. They like to live in pine forests and brushy fields near forests.
The Cottonmouth can
and will kill you! It has a very venomous bite, though like most snakes it will
flee if it can. They are usually brown in the body and are named from the white
on the inside of the mouth. It has a visible stripe on the side of its head. If
you are looking straight down at one, you can't see its eyes, they don't
protrude. Many harmless water snakes are confused with the Cottonmouth. They
swim with their head stuck out of the water. They are found in swamps, rivers,
lakes and even ditches in Eastern North Carolina.
These are very small
rattlesnakes; the adults seldom grow over 18 inches. They are so small that
their rattle can barely be heard. They are small but are scrappers, they will
bite more quickly than most snakes. But they inject a very small amount of
venom, and are seldom if ever deadly to humans. They like to live in longleaf
pine or scrub oak forests.
All of the above
snakes are pit vipers, named because of the pits on their heads, near the
nostrils. They all have long hollow fangs that fold back in their mouths. They
also have a triangular shaped head.
The Eastern Coral Snake
The only venomous
snake in North Carolina
that is not a pit viper. They do not have the distinctive triangular shaped
head of the other poisonous snakes in NC. They are related to cobras. They are
very unlikely to bite unless bothered. They live in the sand hills of South
Eastern North Carolina, and spend most of their time underground. There are
many snakes that look similar to the Coral Snake. But the venomous version
always has red bands next to yellow ones. The old saying is "Red and
Yellow, kill a fellow" These are highly toxic but very rarely found.
Around the home, cut
the grass short and keep debris up out of the yard. Most snakes love to hide
under piles of wood, or even bricks or brush that has been cut. They also will
get under houses and in or under storage buildings. If a old building has rats,
there is every change is has snakes!
outdoor activities be aware of your surroundings. Know the types of venomous
snakes in your area, and know where they like to be. Watch carefully before
taking a step on a trail. Also be aware of overhanging tree limbs that may have
a snake on them. Avoid walking around at night in the woods, as a lot of snakes
hunt at night.
According to The
Center, if you are bitten
by a snake, this is what to do. If it's a non venomous snake, wash the bite
area with warm soapy water, and possibly get a tetanus shot.
If you ARE bitten by
a venomous snake, stay calm first of all. Try to identify the snake by
coloring, markings and shape of the head. Make a note of what it looks like to
tell the Emergency Room Doctors. It is not recommended that you kill the snake,
as it may bite again when you try. (Authors note- if you DO kill it, bring it
to the ER with you- but remember a dead snake can bite from reflex) Dial 911 or
the Carolina's Poison Control
Center for advice before
attempting first aid. Keep the victim in one position, flat on the back is
best, keep the bitten limb at an even level with the rest of the body.
Do NOT try to suck
the venom out or cut the wound, that does not really work. Do not use a
tourniquet or pack the wound in ice.
There is a
rumor that black snakes mate with copperheads and produce venomous black
snakes. I can find nothing supporting this, and it's kind of dumb. So don't go
killing black snakes! They are good to have around; they kill rodents and
compete for food with venomous snakes. They are usually better hunters than
copperheads, so a copperhead will leave an area with blacksnakes, so they can
find prey easier