Riley Pest Management
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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 phone. 

Florida Snakes Identification (provided by University of FL) 

This 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.

http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/herpetology/fl-guide/snakekey.htm

How to Use this Key: 

  1. Start 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.) 
  2. If 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.  
  3. Work 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.  

Full description of Color Patterns and Scale Structures  

 

 

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-- Duggan Cooley, former CEO- RCS

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