Coral Snake Look Alike

The Coral Snake is venomous. In a case of batesian mimicry (copying the appearance of a dangerous animal), several snake species have evolved the recognizable red, yellow, and black bands around their body. It can be hard for the layman to distinguish between the actual dangerous snake, and the copycats. So, which snakes are Western and Eastern Coral Snake look alikes?

Below are a few photos. For more information, visit the following pages:
Eastern Coral Snake - This one is the real deal.
Scarlet Kingsnake - This one looks the most similar.
Florida Scarlet Snake - An example of a not-so-perfect copycat.
Snake Rhyme Poem - Red Touch Yellow Kills a Fellow...

Coral Snake Appearance: There are many types of coral snakes throughout the Americas, with the most common the Eastern Coral and the Western Coral. The most common species in the United States have a universal red-yellow-black-yellow pattern. Not all snakes have the same color scheme, so it is important to be familiar with the snakes specific to your region. This snake is small in comparison to other venomous snakes in the United States. At its longest, an adult can measure around thirty inches. The colorful body is slender and lacks real variance in width. The head blends seamlessly into the body with no distinctive neck. The head of this species of coral snake is always black.

Does it Live in the Coral Snake Range? One way to tell whether you are seeing an actual coral snake or one of the look alikes is by examining the range of the snake. Here is a map of both the Western Coral Snake and the Eastern. If the snake is not within this range, then it's not a coral. But this isn't a particularly helpful clue, since of course no snake would evolve the color pattern outside of the coral range, and thus most mimics don't live outside of this range anyway. Sorry for wasting your time. Seemed like a good idea to write here three minutes ago.

You may notice that the mimic snakes have a red nose, and the Coral Snake has a black nose. That's one way that people tell the difference, even without checking the order of the colored bands.

Also, you will notice that the coral snake's bands go all the way around its body, whereas the look alike coral snakes have different bellies, either faded or entirely white.

Facts about coral snakes and lookalikes - Coral snakes and lookalikes such as the Scarlet Kingsnake are interesting creatures. They are not common, and rarely seek conflict when they encounter humans, whether it's a deadly species or one of the mimic snakes. A coral snake that is encountered will first try to slither away. If it is handled, or harassed, that is when the animal will bite. The same goes for the snakes that copy coral snake appearance. There are many characteristics that set the coral snake apart from other venomous snakes in North America. Unlike pit vipers, the coral snake cannot flatten its teeth against the roof of its mouth. The teeth remain erect, and there are no venom sacks attached to the fangs. Instead of injecting poison like its cousin, the coral snake bites and then holds on while the glands adjacent to its teeth secrete the venom. The longer the snake remains attached, the more venom that is absorbed. There are numerous rhymes to help identify this venomous creature, though there are coral snakes in other areas of the world that do not follow the rule of the North American snake. As you now know, there are also some harmless snakes that are often confused with the coral snake, though it never did anyone any harm to avoid the shovel-nose snake (just don’t try to kill it), the scarlet kingsnake, the Florida scarlet snake, the Pueblan Milk Snake, and other snakes that look like coral snakes. The differences between coral snakes and pit vipers extend to classic appearance. Pit vipers have a traditionally triangular head, heat sensing pits on the face, and pupils that resemble a cat’s. The coral snake and the mimics have none of these characteristics.

Many people want to know how to kill a Coral snake, or in many cases the look alike snakes, but you don't need to. The best way to get rid of types of snakes that look like coral snakes is to simply leave them alone. You can also use a snake trap to catch them - that's one of the best ways for how to remove coral copycat snakes with red yellow and black band and stripes around the body. For more information, go to my Snake Removal - How to Get Rid of Snakes home page.