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.

The scientific name of this snake is Micrurus fulvius. These snakes are venomous and can endanger any specie that comes in contact with it. Eastern Coral Snakes are quite easy to spot since they sport a slender body. They are 20-30 inches in length which are equivalent to 50-75 centimeters. They have round pupils and the scales present on their bodies are smooth.

There are prominent rings on its body of different bright colors such as red, black, and yellow. However, it is to be noted that there are no red rings on its tail, only yellow and black rings are there. The pattern and color of these rings do not change as they get older. One special feature about this snake's body is how different its head is from the rest of its body. Not only this but its snout is also not as sharp as other snakes. As mentioned earlier, these snakes are venomous. Its counterparts look similar and are not venomous. There is a trick that can come in handy if you need to distinguish Eastern Coral Snakes from the non-venomous species; the red and yellow rings or bands are adjacent on the coral snake, on the other hand, the scarlet kingsnake and scarlet snake have red and black bands on their bodies. Another way to differentiate both these snakes is by looking at their snouts. Eastern Coral Snakes' snouts are not only unsharpened but also black whereas, the scarlet kingsnake and scarlet snake have rather distinct snouts that are red. They are widely present in the southeastern part of the United States of America. They reside in sandy areas and are not easily seen as they hide underground. Some of the areas where they are geographically widespread are mentioned below.

1.Florida 2.Georgia
6.South Carolina

Like any other animal, they too have a mating season. They reproduce by laying 3-12 eggs around June that hatch three months later, in September.

Eastern Coral Snakes have fangs that are immovable but small in size. They use these same fangs to eat their prey. They prey on frogs, lizards, and other snakes that are smaller than themselves.

They only bite humans when they feel threatened by either being handled or by stepping on them. Their venom is injected in the body when the Eastern Coral Snakes chew their victim. The venom of the Eastern Coral Snakes can show no signs up to 12 hours. Where the snake bites the skin, there is either little or no pain in that area. It should be treated with an antivenin immediately as if left untreated, it can result in serious consequences. The neurotoxin spreads in the body and causes the connections and signals between the brain and the muscles to be disrupted. This results in slurred speech and hazy vision. It can also lead to muscle paralysis or even cardiac failure. It should not be taken lightly as it can be fatal and hence, should be treated immediately.

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