GHENT, WV (WVNS) — As the weather begins to turn warmer and many people start spending time outdoors, it is important to be aware of your surroundings.
There are at least seven different ways that can help tell the difference between venomous and nonvenomous snakes.
According to Wildlife Informer, the seven different ways to tell these snakes apart are head shapes, pit organs, coloration and patterns, pupil shape, behavior, and furrowed brows. With West Virginia and the rest of the US containing a variety of different snakes, information like this can save you from a venomous encounter.
Most snakes have triangular heads, but venomous snakes have broader and more in depth shaping to their heads. Snakes in the viper family like rattlesnakes, water moccasins, and copperheads are prime examples of this.
Pit organs are small holes that are located between the nostril and the eye of a pit viper. These pits are usually very small so don’t get too close to get a closer look. However, nonvenomous snakes like boas and pythons also have these organs, but it’s better safe than sorry.
Coloration and Patterns
Like many other animals, very colorful snakes could mean that they’re venomous, but there are also some that are nonvenomous that use this to mimic to more dangerous ones. Venomous snakes like coral snakes are very colorful and very venomous, but they do have a nonvenomous mimic in the scarlett king snakes that has a similar color and pattern.
One quick way to tell if a snake is venomous or not would be from their eye shape. Most venomous snakes have cat-like slit eyes, while nonvenomous ones are round like ours. However, one exception to this would be the coral snake that is highly venomous but with rounded pupils. Either way, it’s best to stay away from snakes with slit eyes.
Snakes are naturally very afraid of humans, but depending on the snake, they will either slither away or stay still. Most nonvenomous snakes usually slither away since they don’t have a strong defense. However, venomous snakes will try to stay still and remain hidden, and if they’re seen they will stand their ground because they have a venomous defense. So if you see a snake that is not moving when close, Run!
If you have noticed that vipers like rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, and water moccasins tend to look angry, it’s mostly due to their protruding scales that gives them a furrowed brow. So it’s safe to say that if you see a snake that looks mad, you should probably leave.