Distinguishing between poisonous and non-venomous snakes can be difficult because some non-venomous snakes have markings that look similar to those of poisonous snakes. However, here are some general guidelines that can help you differentiate between the two:
- Look at the head shape: Venomous snakes generally have a triangular-shaped head that is wider than their neck, while non-venomous snakes usually have a head that is the same width as their neck.
- Check the eyes: Venomous snakes usually have a vertical slit for a pupil, while non-venomous snakes usually have a round pupil.
- Look at the scales: Venomous snakes usually have a single row of scales on the underside of the tail, while non-venomous snakes have two rows.
- Check the coloring and patterns: While coloration and patterns can vary widely among snakes, some general patterns can help you distinguish between venomous and non-venomous species. For example, venomous snakes in North America such as copperheads and rattlesnakes typically have diamond-shaped patterns on their backs, while non-venomous snakes such as garter snakes usually have longitudinal stripes.
- Listen for warning sounds: Some venomous snakes, such as rattlesnakes, have a distinctive rattle that warns potential threats of their presence. Non-venomous snakes do not have this characteristic.
It’s important to remember that the best way to avoid being bitten by a snake is to give them space and respect their territory. If you are not sure whether a snake is venomous or not, it’s always best to assume that it is and give it a wide berth.