In the United States, each year an average of 8,000 people receive snake bites from venomous snakes. Some of these people are bitten from the result of not being able to identify the snake, while some others are bitten for the result of identifying the snake incorrectly and getting close to it thinking that it is safe to do so. Even the ‘harmless’, non-venomous snakes can cause a severe infection or an allergic reaction in many people.
If ever bitten by a venomous snake, most doctors give you antivenin, an antidote to cure snake bites, to treat a serious snake bite. Each antivenin is created in a horse’s blood serum when the horse is injected with snake venom. So they won’t just give you any snake venom, for if it is not from the right kind of snake it can be like giving you poison. They will give you the venom for the kind of snake that bit you. So what if you don’t know what kind of snake bit you? Well they normally have ways of finding that out, by the description of the snake or from the symptoms you have of the venom, but not all the time. For this reason it would be very useful to know your snakes.
For those who live on or near woody lands, swamps, or any source of water, it would be very good to know your snakes backwards and forward. Even the people who hunt, fish, hike, camp, and do other outdoor things. Knowing your snakes is really important. If you are any of these people above then take the time to learn all the snakes in your area or at least learn the basic features to tell the venomous and the non-venomous apart. For the one’s that don’t won’t to take the time at all, when you see a snake, do like some people would do and just run as fast as you can. This may save you from being bitten.
All you you really have to know about snakes to identify them is listed below:
1. body length – this is can be very useful if the snake is fully grown
2. body shape- this is a very effective way of identifying most snakes especially water snakes and water moccasins
3. head & neck shape – this is can be used to identify any snake and some times tell the venomous apart from the non-venomous
4. color & pattern – very effective to identify a snake with, it can be hard if the snake is shedding its skin or if the snake is a small snake
5. scale texture – if you can see the scales this can be useful, but you may have to get closer to the see to see it. I don’t recommend this way
6. eye pupil shape- this is probably the best way to tell the venomous and non-venomous snakes apart. If you can’t do this without getting close then forget this method