Red touches yellow, kills a fellow; Red touches black, friend of jack.
That’s an old child rhyme that’s been used to differentiate the color pattern of the venomous coral snake from its non-venomous mimic, the milk snake. Knowing how to distinguish the two snakes can help save your life in the bush.
In the video below, Orry Martin, the “Texas Snake Hunter,” catches a Texas coral snake and Louisiana milk snake to show their similarities and differences.
The coral snake is the one of the most venomous snakes in all of North America. Their potent neurotoxic venom has a devastating effect on the central nervous system’s of unfortunate prey. Stay clear of these suckers, as there is no known antivenin for coral snake venom.
Although, there have been very few recorded coral snake attacks on humans, because they are mostly docile and reclusive creatures.
Then there’s milksnakes, the non-venomous snake that looks serpent that looks nearly identical to a coral snake. Milk snakes kill their prey by strangling, but they don’t pose much of a threat to humans.
Learn more about their unique attributes and distinguishing features in the video below.
In a coral snake vs milk snake matchup, the coral snake would probably win. The milk snake lacks the venom to compete, and it is easily repulsed by the scent of the coral snake.
If you’d like to learn more about venomous snakes, check out our interview with snake experts from the Houston Zoo.
Have you ever encountered a coral snake or a milk snake in the wild?