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Florida Snakes

There are 45 Different Florida Snakes

Florida snakes come in forty-five different species. Of these, six are venomous. In Florida, as in the rest of the United States, 99% of all snakebites are from pit vipers. This is a family of snakes that consists of copperheads, cottonmouths, rattlesnakes and coral snakes. All North American pit vipers have a pair of pits between each eye and nostril. These pits are heat sensors and help the snake to locate its prey.

The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake is one of the venomous snakes that makes its home in Florida. Ninety-five percent of all deaths from snakebites in the United States are from Eastern and Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes. The Eastern Rattlesnake is the largest of all of the 32 different types of rattlesnakes The adult male can reach eight feet in length and weigh fifteen pounds, although the norm is three to five feet and weighing ten pounds and under. Their coloring is brown or tan and sometimes yellowish, covered with brown diamonds.

The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake lives in pinewoods, palmetto flatwoods, coastal dunes or hardwood hammocks. They will also swim the ocean to get from one area to another. They like in ambush to attack their prey. They prefer to eat small mammals and rodents, especially rabbits. In the winter they live in gopher holes, tortoise burrows or stump holes. They only breed every two-three years, producing one to two dozen young.

Another of the venomous Florida snakes is the Cottonmouth. It is also known as a “water moccasin” or Florida Cottonmouth. It can grow to a length of six feet but is more normally three to four feet long. It can be seen anywhere near water or in the water, whether freshwater or salt. It has been successful at colonizing barrier islands in the Atlantic. When it feels threatened, the Cottonmouth’s tail will vibrate and it will lift its head into the air, mouth wide open, posed to bite. The name Cottonmouth comes from the startling white of the inside of the mouth, seen on such occasions. Cottonmouths have several color patterns ranging from brown to tan, green, to yellowish, and even black. Over the solid color are bands of dark brown to black. Their diet consists mostly of fish and frogs.

Other venomous Florida snakes are the Eastern Coral Snake, Dusky Pigmy Rattlesnake, and the Timber Rattlesnake. The Eastern Coral Snake is related to the Cobra family. They have rings around their body of black, red and yellow. They are generally around two feet long with the largest recorded being four feet. They eat lizards, frogs and other snakes. Next to the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, they have the most poisonous venom of all Florida snakes.

The Dusky Pigmy Rattlesnake is small as Florida snakes go at only two feet long but very thick. It is light to dark gray with charcoal or black blotches and a reddish-brown stripe down its back. This snake lives near water, especially canals, lakes, ponds, marshes and cypress swamps. It eats frogs and mice. The Dusky Pigmy has a rattle when threatened but it sounds more like the buzzing of a small insect.

The Timber Rattlesnake is also know as a Canebreak Rattlesnake. It is three to five feet long, though it can grow to be six feet. It has either a pinkish gray or tan body with a reddish-brown stripe down the back that is often crossed with large black chevron-like bands. They like to live in swamps, riverbeds, cane thickets, and pinewoods. It is able to stay hidden because of its camouflage coloring. They reproduce only every three to five years. Timber Rattlesnakes eat small mammals, birds, other snakes and amphibians.




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