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Orlando Florida Coral Snake

Florida Coral Snake

10.22.2005 - Behold! One of central Florida's four venomous species of snakes. This is an Eastern Coral Snake, perhaps 20 inches in length. This snake doesn't really grow to a very large size, rarely much over 30 inches.  I caught this snake in a customer's garage.  Snakes often slither their way into garages, and then get lost amongst the walls and debris.  If you leave the snake alone, it will probably find its way out after a while, but I understand, in the case of the Coral Snake, why one would not want it lurking about under dryer sheets.  The venom of the Coral Snake is an extremely potent neurotoxin that causes the victim's breathing to become paralyzed. 

Although they range throughout the entire state of Florida, these snakes are not often seen, because they're not terribly common, and they are usually shy and reclusive, spending much of their time under heavy debris.  Sometimes a heavy rain will flush them out of their deep and dark hiding spots, and sometimes they're simply on the move, which was probably the case with this one. 

This is my first Florida Coral Snake, and when the customer called, I doubted the authenticity of the find, especially since several Florida snakes mimic the red-black-yellow color pattern, and I always get calls about "Coral Snakes", even for snakes that don't look similar, such as the Corn Snake.  However, this customer seemed fairly certain, and even cited the black nose, which is unique to Corals. 

Sure enough, when I showed up, this specimen was waiting for me.  It's fairly easy to handle, because it's slow and docile.  It's also got a tiny mouth with tiny fangs, and it couldn't bite through a leather glove, let alone the thick glove I'm wearing in the above photo.  I'd never handle a pit viper like a rattlesnake or a Cottonmouth - those snakes are strong, fast-striking, ornery, and they've got big fangs like hypodermic needles.  But the Coral is quite tame. 

That said, no one should ever handle one, and if you do get envenomated, you could wind up in very big trouble, with symptoms such as death, which leads to decreased performance in the bedroom.  So if you do see a snake such as the one I'm holding above, do not attempt to hold it yourself.  Leave it alone, and everyone is better off.  If you do find one in the garage and wish to remove it, it's best to call a wildlife control professional.

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