Common mistake with snakes

A lot of times I go and check on the animals in Carolina Wildlife. When I walk out I hear a lot of comments adults make to children. Some of the comments are correct and some of them are very false. One that drives me crazy is hearing people over at the snakes warning kids to avoid snakes with triangle heads because they are poisonous. Now, I do agree in avoiding the snakes, but 2 things wrong with the advice is  snakes aren’t poisonous, they are venomous and a lot of snakes have triangular shaped heads…not just the venomous kind. I found this excerpt in the herpsofnc website.

” there is no simple way to distinguish between a venomous snake and a non-venomous snake.  The best possible advice one can follow is that any snake that cannot be positively identified as harmless should not be handled.  Many people believe that all snakes with triangular-shaped heads are potentially venomous.  Although all pit vipers (rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouths) in the eastern United States have broad triangular heads, so do some non-venomous species such as water snakes (Nerodia).  In addition, a non triangular head does not signify the absence of venom: the two species of coral snakes in the United States, both venomous, have slender heads with little distinction between head and neck.  Another over generalization is that venomous snakes have elliptical pupils, whereas all harmless snakes have round pupils; however venomous coral snakes also have round pupils.  Unfortunately, no single rule separates all venomous species from all of the harmless ones.”


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