Venomous Snakes

Initial First Aid for Snake bites

  • No Tourniquet
  • No Ice
  • No Cutting
  • Remove Rings & Constrictive Items
  • Immobilize Extremity
  • Keep Patient Calm & Warm
  • Transport to Emergency Deptartment ASAP

Call the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222. The poison specialist can determine if further treatment is needed.

The following are types of venomous snakes found in Alabama:

Copperhead
Description: The head is triangular with a facial pit and elliptical pupils. The body is pinkish-buff, russet, or orange brown with dark brown to reddish crossbands. The top of the head is yellowish to coppery-red and the sides are paler. The end of the tail is yellow in the young, black to dark greenish or brown in the adult. The crossbands with an hour-glass configuration are narrow in the center of the back and wide on the sides. It is the least dangerous of venomous snakes in Alabama.

Range: Statewide.
Average length: 2 or 3 feet; maximun slightly over 4 feet.


Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

Description: The body is olive green to dark brown. Darker, diamond-shaped blotches outlined with cream or yellow and a lighter center can be found on the body. There are diagonal, whitish stripes on the side of the triangular head. It has facial pits and elliptical pupils like the other pit vipers. This snake is the most dangerous of venomous snakes in Alabama.

Range: Southern third of the state.
Average length: 3 1/2 to 5 1/2 feet; maximum 8 feet.


Cottonmouth/Water Moccasin

Description: The heavy triangular head with facial pits, elliptical pupils, and less prominent eyes help distinguish this snake from harmless water snakes. The body is olive or dark brown with wide blackish crossbands. There is a dark stripe behind the eye and the end of the tail is black. It may not try to escape and will open its mouth widely showing the white interior.

Range: Statewide, usually near water.
Average length: 30 to 45 inches; maximum about 6 feet.


Pigmy Rattlesnake

Description: The body color is light gray, tan, reddish-orange or dark-gray often with an orange or rusty mid-line stripe. It has five rows of sooty spots or short dark crossbars. The tail is relatively long and the rattle may be difficult to see. The head has facial pits and elliptical pupils.

Range: Statewide, more common in south Alabama.
Average length: 15 to 22 inches; maximum 31 inches


Timber or Canebrake Rattlesnake

Description: The body is a yellow, gray, buff, or pale brown with sooty black crossbands or chevrons narrowly edged with pale yellow or white. An amber, pinkish or rusty stripe can be seen down the middle of the back. It has no light stripes on the side of the head. Adult snakes have a black tail.

Range: Statewide but less common in south Alabama.
Average length: 3 to 4 feet; maximum a little over 6 feet


Eastern Coral Snake
Description: The body is completely encircled by black, yellow and red rings with the red and yellow rings touching. The snout is black with a broad yellow band across the base of the head and a wide black neck ring. Bites from this snake are rare and usually only occur is the snake is handled. It is an elapid with venom similar to a cobra. Remember, "Red touch yellow will kill a fellow."

Range: Mostly confined to the two tiers of counties in extreme south Alabama.
Average length: 23 to 32 inches, maximum 47 inches.

Photos used courtesy of the Birmingham Zoo