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A Guide to the Most Dangerous Florida Snakes

Florida is famous for a lot of things – beautiful beaches, Disney World, dolphins; and we don’t hear much about Florida snakes. But there are 45 different types of snakes found in the State of Florida, 6 of them deadly.

Don’t get nervous, though, vacationers are not very likely to run into a venomous snake while visiting Florida. The most dangerous Florida snakes dwell in pretty specific, usually woody or wetland areas. Florida residents would be wise, however, to know at least a little bit about the deadly snakes that live among them.

Dangerous Florida Snake #1 – Cottonmouth

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• Thick body, 20-48 inches long, solid dark brown to black color.

• Found all over Florida near waterways and wetlands.

• One of the least aggressive of all venomous snakes.

Dangerous Florida Snake #2 – Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

• Large body, 36-72 inches long

• Typical diamond markings with light colored border and tail rattle.

• Found all over the state, specifically in pine flatwoods and scrub pine areas.

• This species has seen a decline in population.

• Despite its venom, this is a very beneficial snake because it eats pests.

Dangerous Florida Snake #3 – Southern Copperhead

• Light brown with dark red-brown X pattern down back, usually 22-36 inches long.

• Only found in the Florida Panhandle, along the Apalachicola River.

• Bite is highly painful, but usually not deadly.

• Immediate medical attention should still be sought if a bite occurs.

Dangerous Florida Snake #4 – Timber Rattlesnake

• Heavy body, 36-60 inches long.

• Pinkish-gray or tan body, reddish stripe down back and large black cross bands.

• Only found in North Florida, in the low bottomlands around riverbeds and such.

Dangerous Florida Snake #5 – Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake

• Small but thick, 12-24 inches long.

• Body is light to dark gray with rows of black blotches and a reddish stripe down back.

• Found throughout Florida near waterways like canals that run through marshes.

• Even though it is small, this snake is aggressive and has a very painful bite.

Dangerous Florida Snake #6 – Eastern Coral Snake

An Eastern Coral Snake crossing a dirt road.

• Thin body, usually 20-30 inches long.

• Distinctive black, yellow and red rings run down entire length of body.

• Yellow rings are thin and separate the thicker black and red rings.

• Found all over Florida in a variety of habitats, usually hidden in debris or the ground.

• Relative of the cobra, but not as deadly as the rattlesnake.

While all of these venomous snakes are dangerous, their bites can be treated. The most important thing is to get treatment immediately after the bite occurs. Poisonous snakes generally have a bad rap, but most of them are beneficial to the environment because they prey on smaller mammals like mice, rats and rabbits, that are considered pests.

It is important to remember that there are only 6 poisonous snakes among the 45 different species of snake dwelling in Florida. The non-dangerous Florida snakes are far more abundant and highly beneficial to the environment of Florida because of their place in the food chain.

Snakes eat insects, rodents – like mice and rats – rabbits and other small pests. Even though most people fear snakes, they are generally quite harmless and not so bad to have around.

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