Good Snakes/Bad Snakes
|from top left): coral snake, rattlesnake, water moccasin, copperhead.|
Snakes can be tricky to identify, but you should know that all of North America’s venomous serpents except for the coral snake have vertical pupils, so if you spot a snake with “cats” eyes, it's a good idea to keep away. Coral snakes have round pupils and they have colors similar to some milk snakes and scarlet king snakes. Farmers have a saying when it comes to identifying coral snakes, “Red next to yellow, kill a fellow. Red next to black, venom lack.” I'd still call a professional if I saw a red, yellow and black striped snake.
The truth, is that unless you are a herpetologist there's no simple way to identify a venomous snake. The best way to check whether a snake is venomous is to compare the snake in your garden to photos of venomous snakes in your area. Just Google “venomous snakes of (your state).” You can also call your local County Extension Office.My divider bar below displays pictures of North America's venomous snakes.