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Weekend Getaways

The 6 Most Venomous (Toxic) Snakes in Florida

Though the worry of being bitten by a snake is actual, the incidents of snake bites are literally fairly small. When you see a snake your first thought could also be, is that toxic? There are 44 completely different species of snakes in Florida, however of these solely 6 are toxic. What sorts of snakes are toxic? How can I inform if a snake is toxic? The place do the toxic snakes dwell in Florida? Let’s discover out concerning the 6 most toxic snakes in Florida!

Does toxic imply lethal?

Of the 7,000-8,000 venomous snake bites a yr within the US, solely a median of 5 are deadly.

First, a degree of clarification, whereas we’ll use toxic at occasions on this article, snakes are literally venomous. You may learn our explainer on venomous animals vs. toxic ones, however the brief story is venom is injected whereas poisons might be inhaled, eaten, or touched. But, we see hundreds of searches annually on toxic snakes on A-Z Animals, so we need to handle reader considerations that are: snake bites can have critical medical implications!

Toxic doesn’t essentially imply lethal. In the USA, medical amenities are geared up with antivenom so the incidents of fatalities are extraordinarily low. In line with the CDC, 7,000-8,000 persons are bitten by venomous snakes annually within the US, however solely a median of 5 are deadly. Some snakes are extra venomous, some are extra aggressive and a few are much less more likely to work together with people. Let’s take a look at a number of the least frequent to commonest toxic snakes in Florida.

6) Japanese (Southern) Copperhead

The Copperhead’s scales are keeled, and their eyes have vertical pupils that make them resemble cat’s eyes.
The Japanese Copperhead snake is present in panhandle of Florida.

Creeping Issues/

The Japanese Copperhead, generally referred to as the Southern copperhead, is present in a small space across the panhandle of Florida, so you might be unlikely to return throughout one. It is just within the northwestern a part of the state between the Apalachicola River (simply west of Tallahassee) and Pensacola. These snakes are 2-3 toes lengthy and are tan with darkish brown hour-glass markings that mix in properly with dried leaves. Like different pit vipers they’ve a triangle head and vertical slits of their eyes, much like cat eyes. They do chew and are toxic however are much less toxic than the cottonmouth and timber rattlesnake.

5) Timber Rattlesnake

Timber rattlesnaake coiled in a loop
Timber Rattlesnakes are within the Northeast a part of Florida.

Frode Jacobsen/

The Timber rattlesnake is fairly uncommon in Florida as properly. It is just situated within the Northeast a part of the state and prefers moist habitats like floodplain forests. The common one can get to be 3-5 toes lengthy and is the third largest venomous snake within the US. It’s yellow-gray in shade with blackish-brown arrow formed markings and has a reddish-brown stripe that goes down the size of their our bodies. Additionally a pit-viper, its head is triangular and has two pits or openings on the facet of its head to sense prey.

As rattlesnakes, they’ve a band of rattle on the finish of their tail that they shake as a warning to different animals (and people). They’re toxic and have venom that’s sturdy sufficient to kill a human, however they’re docile and like to stay nonetheless and hope you don’t see them. In the event that they really feel threatened they will strike and in the event you do get bit it’s essential to search medical consideration instantly.

4) Japanese (Harlequin) Coral Snake

1654044943 859 The 6 Most Venomous Poisonous Snakes in Florida - August 12, 2022
Coral snakes are black, crimson and yellow banded, and might be discovered all through Florida.

The Japanese Coral Snake, generally referred to as the Harlequin snake, is likely one of the toxic snakes that’s not a pit viper. It’s situated all through Florida, however in drier habitats so that you gained’t discover them in marshes or swamps. Japanese Coral snakes are smaller and thinner, concerning the diameter of a pencil, some just a little thicker and are about 1 meter (3.3 toes) lengthy. They’re simply acknowledged by their vibrant black, crimson and yellow banding. Though there are different snakes with the identical coloration, together with non-poisonous ones just like the Scarlet King snake, it’s in all probability most secure to avoid any snake with this coloration. As a substitute of a fast piercing chew with fangs like a rattle snake, these snakes should chew on their sufferer to cross on the venom. So remember to by no means deal with a Coral snake.

3) Japanese Diamondback Rattlesnake

Large eastern diamondback rattlesnake
Japanese diamondback rattlesnakes are the biggest toxic snake in Florida.

Chase D’animulls/

The Japanese Diamondback rattlesnake is the biggest toxic snake in Florida and in addition essentially the most lethal in the USA. It’s rather more frequent and might be present in each county in Florida. Diamondbacks are able to swimming, so that they have made their strategy to a number of the islands in and across the Keys. They’re giant bodied and are 5-6 toes lengthy though the longest one on report was 8 toes. They’re brown in shade with darkish brown diamond-shaped markings alongside their again. As rattlesnake, they’ve a rattle on the finish of their tail they use to warn others.

When you got here throughout one on a path they’d in all probability stay in a coiled place and you’ll have time to slowly again away. In the event that they felt threatened, otherwise you tried to strategy one they could rattle their tail as a warning, increase the entrance of their physique up and as a final resort strike. Though giant, they aren’t aggressive, however in the event you get bitten, it’s best to search rapid medical consideration.

2) Florida Cottonmouth

Side view of a Cottonmouth snake, ready to strike. The snake has a large spade-shaped head.
Cottonmouth snake might be present in lakes, rivers and waterways all through Florida.


When you suppose you’ll be secure from toxic snakes in the event you simply keep off mountain climbing trails you might be fallacious. What about swimming in a lake or river? You’ll have to look out for the Florida cottonmouth, or generally referred to as a water Moccasin. Whereas many of the snakes on our record favor to be left alone and can give truthful warning, cottonmouths are aggressive. They appear to have a brief mood. They could coil again, open their mouths, and present their fangs earlier than hanging.

Cottonmouths are discovered all through the state of Florida and might be present in lakes, rivers, swamps and retention ponds. They’re a heavier bodied snake that may be 2-4 toes lengthy and are black in shade. They’re referred to as cottonmouths due to the white inside of their mouths. There are different water snakes that look comparable that aren’t venomous however it’s most secure to avoid all water snakes.  

1) Pygmy Rattlesnake

1654044944 947 The 6 Most Venomous Poisonous Snakes in Florida - August 12, 2022
The Pygmy Rattlesnake might solely be 1-2 toes lengthy however they’re toxic.

Gerald A. DeBoer/

Don’t be fooled by the dimensions of this little rattlesnake. Though it’s the smallest rattlesnake, it’s toxic and may trigger a painful chew. It’s discovered all through Florida and prefers forests and wooded areas. Pygmy rattlesnakes are thick, however shorter with most being 1-2 toes lengthy. Their our bodies are tan with darkish brown splotches and a pinkish-brown stripe down the size of their again. The Pygmy rattlesnake is accountable for essentially the most snake bites of toxic snakes in Florida. It is not uncommon and due to its dimension, kids typically choose it up with out understanding the snake is toxic. Typically this ends in the kids getting bitten. These snakes usually are not aggressive and can flatten out to cover within the brush versus hanging outright. When you do get bitten or your kids does, it’s best to search rapid medical consideration.

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