5 Quick Ways to Tell if a Snake is Harmless or Venomous


Slithery, smooth, and swift: Snakes are legless vertebrates that have long bodies covered with scales. The snakes of the United States fall into five categories, including families: boidae (boas), colurbridae (colubrid), crotalidae (pit vipers), leptotyphlopidae (blind snakes), and elapidae (coral snakes).

They are found in most states and, beyond the United States, they exist in most places in the world (with the exception of Antarctica, Iceland, Ireland, Greenland, and New Zealand).

Of the more than 3,000 global different snake species, about 600 are venomous, and about 7% of those are able to kill or significantly hurt humans.

Snakes are ectothermic, meaning they need external warmth to maintain body temperature. In certain climates, such as the tropics, snakes will be active all year. In seasonally changing climates, most snake encounters will happen during the warmer months. Because they are cold-blooded reptiles, snakes are mostly dormant during cooler seasons.

There are many different ways to identify snakes, including head shape, coloration, body type, eyes, scales, and other features.

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