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Six Poisonous snakes of Merritt Island that could kill you

Coral snake
Coral snake
Photo by Brent Stirton

A friend once told me that if you do not have your Floridian poisonous snakes memorized, then do not live in the state of Florida. Precautions must be taken if you come across a potentially deadly serpent. One bite could mean the end of your life if you do not think quickly or have knowledge of the dangerous reptiles that reside in your area. Six of the 50 species that are native to Florida are listed for your viewing.

Phillip's Natural World very well describes his experience with Diamondbacks and his observations. According to his findings, they are mainly located in "...pine flatwoods, longleaf pine, and turkey oak, sand pine, scrub areas, and coastal barrier islands". Diamondbacks use a hemotoxin venom that can destroy red blood cells and surrounding tissue, which is extremely painful and fatal to humans. Good news is, antivenom is widely available within the range of these poisonous reptiles.

Southern Copperheads are active during the day beginning from early spring to late fall. When heat becomes more unbearable, they hide a little bit longer and hunt for prey in the late afternoon when the day is cooling down. You will often see them hiding in river bottoms where logs, branche

s, or leaves are dispersed. They are also found in wooded lowlands and pastures. Their bite is seldom fatal since they contain very tiny fangs and produce very little venom. If the bite is strong enough, effects of poison can include intense pain, throbbing, swelling, and severe nausea.

These fearless snakes are not even afraid of approaching any nearby intruders and that includes us. So if you see one along your path, run! To avoid being caught, be sure to keep an eye out for areas of still or slow moving bodies of water with high vegetation. Areas of higher plantation bring in more prey for water mocasins. If a cottonmouth bites you, its hemotoxic venom can cause a large of amount of blood loss.

Rattlers are versatile when it comes to preference of habitat. However, at hotter times of the day, they hide in burrows already made by gopher turtles. These snakes are equipped with small fangs and produce very little hemotoxin. Their venom is not very fatal unless a child or a small pet is bitten.

The range of canebrakes are very limited in the state of Florida in that they reside in very few counties. They preferably situate themselves in damp environments such as river beds, swamps, and cane thickets. The bite of a Timber Rattlesnake is very fatal, however attacks are also very uncommon.

Coral snakes are usually confused with king snakes due to their very similar coloration. However, color location can help you distinguish one from the other. All you need is memorize the quote "red next to black won't hurt jack, red next to yellow will kill a fellow". Coral Snakes are scattered throughout Florida where they prefer to reside in pine and scrub oak sandhills. They are mostly seen during the cooler times of the day like late afternoon or night. Coral snakes neurotoxic venom is very fatal in that it can cause paralysis of respiratory muscles and eventually suffocation. However, cases of coral snake bites are very rare due to their reclusive personality.

Even if you do not have prior knowledge of snakes in Florida to begin with, the best you could do for yourself is to run away if you see any snake or go to the hospital if you have been bitten by one. It is better to be safe than sorry in case this situation arises


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