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Eastern Coral Snake



10.22.2007 - This is a close up photo of an Eastern Coral Snake,  Micrurus fulvius, that I caught.  I'm holding it with thick gloves.  Yes, this snake is a member of the elapid snakes, a family that includes cobras, and it has a very powerful neurotoxin venom that can be fatal to people.  However, this snake is not very aggressive, and as you an see, it has a tiny mouth.  It also has small fangs, and it can't inject venom the way the pit vipers do.  The venom delivery is slower.  Thus, it's fairly safe to handle with thick gloves and a knowledge of how it can move and what it can do.  I of course do not recommend that anyone handle such a snake, and of course almost all cases of snakebite occur when people attempt to pick up or kill snakes.

The Eastern Coral Snake is, in my opinion, a very pretty snake.  It has a vibrant red, yellow, and black color pattern, which rings the entire body.  This snake is sometimes confused with copycat snakes of similar color patterns, but the order of the color differs.  Note that this snake has a black nose.

This snake lives throughout the state of Florida, and along much of the southeast gulf coast, from Mississippi to South Carolina.  It rarely grows above 30 inches, though the record is apparently 47 inches.  I've heard conflicting reports regarding which sex is larger.  The females lay up to a dozen eggs in heavy debris in June, and these eggs hatch in September.  The baby Coral Snakes are about six inches long, and very thin.  They eat a variety of vertebrates, and often prey on other small snakes.  They generally live underneath heavy vegetation or debris, and are rarely sighted.

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There are many coral snakes around the world. All of them are venomous and all of them are deadly. The blue coral snake is a stunning animal with a dark blue back and white sides that makes the animal appear as if glowing. The head and tail are bright red. This snake is found in Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Thailand. It is a nocturnal hunter, and most incidents involving people happen when the snake is unknowingly stepped on. Like other coral snakes, the blue coral snake delivers neurotoxic venom in its bite. If untreated, the victim will likely die from eventual respiratory or cardiac distress. Its diet consists of other snakes, even those of its own species. If food supplies are scare, the serpent will dine on birds and small mammals. Despite being deadly, this species of snake is as timid as its North American cousin, and will avoid confrontation if it happens.

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