How Do You Know if a Snake is Venomous?
Herpetologists identify the main signs that safe snakes differ from venomous snakes, but there are so many snakes in the world that exceptions occur as well. Nevertheless, the general rules for distinguishing snakes that you may encounter in everyday life are as follows:
1. Difference between eyes – Harmless snakes usually have round pupils and poisons have an elongated elliptical shape. The most famous exceptions: poisonous mambas (Africa), cobras (Africa, Middle East, Asia, Indonesia) and Taipan (USA) have pupils.
It is interesting to note that some non-toxic snakes can change the shape of the pupils from a rounded to an elongated danger per minute, e.g. false sand snakes.
2. Venomous snakes have special pits between their nostrils and eyes to help them feel prey.
3. The head of a venomous snake is visibly wider than the neck and has a more pronounced triangular shape. In non-toxic snakes, the shape of the head is more rounded and the corners are smoother.
4. The scales on the tail of the venomous snake are found in a single row and double in a non-toxic row.
5. Poisonous snakes are often brightly coloured and may warn of their appearance by whistling the rattlesnake’s tail rattles at the sound of rattlesnakes to more aggressive behaviour. Exception: scarlet royal snakes and red snakes.
6. This similar snake and viper can be distinguished by two yellow spots on the snake’s head and a zigzag-shaped black band on the back of the viper.
7. A diamond pattern is usually a sign of toxicity, especially if the snake is tricoloured.
8. Venomous snakes generally swim on the surface of the water, while the bodies of non-toxic snakes go underwater.
Read more: The Most Dangerous Snakes in The World
In nature, in the countryside, in the forest, you must remember that snakes can be nearby and take precautions.
- Cut tall grass into sections and clean branches – the snakes’ favourite places.
- Do not allow rodents to spread, they are unpleasant in themselves and attract reptiles.
- You can use an ammonia solution to spray remote areas of the house. Snakes really don’t like the smell of it, even though it is safe for them.
- For a walk in the forest, choose closed shoes.
- Climbers run the risk of getting bitten, as snakes love to hide in crevices. Do not walk on such surfaces without checking, let alone sticking your hand to them.
- Snakes do not usually attack first when they sense danger, if you accidentally scare them off. They become more aggressive in extreme heat and during the mating season (June-July). A frightened snake injects more poison.
- When walking in wild places, especially in wet and swampy areas, try not to walk on tall, dense grass, or at least check it, make noise, move the grass with a stick.
- When you spend the night in nature, hide the light sources – they attract snakes and in the morning shake clothes – the smell of a person also attracts reptiles.
- Do not chase snakes out of curiosity, it could cause an attack.