POISONOUS SNAKES & IDENTIFICATION!
Although 50 species of snakes are found in Florida, only
the 6 listed here are venomous and a danger to humans. The remaining 44 species (and its subspecies) are
harmless and should be protected for the beneficial role they play in natural ecosystems, eating insects,
rodents, rabbits, and other small prey. A word of caution is warranted here. If you find a snake and you do not
know whether or not it is venomous, the safest thing to do is leave it alone. Florida snakes are not aggressive
and, unless they are cornered, most will flee when humans approach. Occasionally, you might encounter one that
is reluctant to leave because it is basking in the sun to get warm. Among snakebite victims, an unacceptably
high number are bitten on the hands and arms when they are handling the snake. Do not catch
a snake and do not handle one unless you are sure it is not venomous. In addition, for a short time
after a snake is killed, its reflexes may continue to work. Those reflexes typically cause the body to writhe
slowly for a while, but they can cause a convulsive contraction and a bite, so you should not handle a freshly
killed venomous snake
The only acceptable treatment for venomous snakebite,
involves the use of antivenin. So if you or someone else is bitten by a venomous snake, seek immediate medical
attention at the nearest hospital or medical facility. Stay calm, remove any rings that could restrict
circulation if tissues swell, keep the bitten limb below the level of the heart, and immediately seek medical
attention. Your most important aids in getting to a hospital and treatment may be car keys or a cell
Snakes Identification (provided by University of FL)
simplified key is an aid to the identification of the snakes of Florida for use by laymen with no technical
training in herpetology. To use it you only have to observe the color and characteristics of the scales on the
back and on the belly of the snake. This useful tool is provided by the herpetology department at the
University of Florida.
Use this Key:
with the first question. Decide
whether 1a or 1b best describes the characteristics of the snake you are trying to identify. (There are
links to examples of these traits if you need help.)
the snake is striped, click on 6; if it is not striped, click on 2. Your choice will lead you to the next
appropriate pair of questions.
through the questions, each time choosing the characteristic that best matches your snake from the two
choices. This will lead you to the final choice which identifies the snake.
The key is
so simplified that occasionally it will lead you to an incorrect identification. To check the accuracy, click on
the name and compare your snake with the photographs and description. Each account compares that species to the
other snakes with which it is most often confused, so with a click or two you can check those species and
confirm the identity of your snake.
description of Color Patterns and Scale Structures