Snakes both venomous and harmless abound all over the United States. Some of the most poisonous are rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, and copperheads. They account for most deaths from snakebites in the U.S. We have some venomous snakes that rarely cause death although still poison. Many helpful snakes eat rats and are very mild mannered. Some make good pets.
The eastern diamondback rattlesnake is the largest venomous snake in the U.S reaching as long as 8 ft. in llength.
In the U.S. poisonous snakes with venom are cotton mouths, sixteen species of rattlesnakes, copperheads, two species of coral snakes and the occasional yellow bellied sea snake that washes ashore on the California coastline. There are also some snakes with fangs at the back of the mouth that are venomous but not necessarily dangerous. It’s estimated that 300,000 people are bitten every year and 100,000 die from it.
Copperheads have an hourglass pattern. It picks up scent of its prey by scenting with its two pronged tongue.
Snakes can store great quantities of food in the stomach. Pythons and anacondas have been known to to go two years without food. Many snakes retreat to earthen crevices, animal burrows, anthills and root systems for as long as 7 to 8 months, according to the weather. Because the young are born in late summer, some have to locate winter dens fairly quickly.
This Gaboon Viper is stretching it’s mouth back in shape after consuming a rat.
In the U.S. a snake den is located in Murphysboro Illinois over looking the Mississippi river. Marlon Perkins used to bring interested parties in the fall and spring to see the assortment of snakes in the vicinity of their winter dens. It’s celebrated today for it’s seasonal migrations of snakes between the swamplands and the limestone bluffs. For several weeks every spring the Forest Service closes off the narrow road to all traffic.
Where conditions are especially dry, snakes retreat below ground during the hottest weather, burrowing in mud or soil. Strange as it seems desert dwelling snakes do not. Probably because they are better adapted to the heat. Snakes can regulate their body temperature by taking advantage of heat from the ground, water, air or reflected sun light. They, in fact are masters of their environment. Snakes simply shift their position into areas where heat can be absorbed.
The corn snake
The corn snake is one of America’s most beautiful snakes. It’s located in corn fields and corn cribs searching for rats that are attracted to ripening corn. Corn snakes are popular pets in the U.S. and Europe. Although usually mild they show bravery when cornered.
The yellow rat snake is harmless, brightly colored and spends it’s time around houses, in trees and barn lofts where it hunts for rats, birds nests and squirrels.
Artcles by Ruby Hawk: