The rhyme goes like this: Red and yellow can kill a fellow; Red and black, a friend of Jack.
Coral snakes are small, mostly brightly colored snakes found in Asia and North and South America. There are around 85 species of coral snakes in the world. They are famous for their red, yellow, and black color scheme. However, this color scheme only applies to the coral snakes of North and South America.
Coral snakes are small, with most being between 18-20 inches in length. They are relatively skinny snakes. Their red, yellow, and black color scheme is striking. They are brightly colored except for the coral snakes of Arizona. This species, like most desert species, is less vibrant. The yellow can look white. All of the American coral snakes have blunt heads and black behind the eyes. Their fangs are out all of the time, and they do not retract them as most other snakes do.
Coral snakes are small and have small mouths. Their fangs are not very strong, so a bite from a coral snake consists of several bites to inject their prey with the venom. Since their mouths are small and bite from a coral snake mostly likely will not be very painful. It can sometimes take a while before the effects of the bite affect the person bitten. As the neurotoxins enter the body, they can cause weak muscles, blurred vision, difficulty breathing, and paralysis. If left untreated, a bite from a coral snake can lead to cause cardiac arrest.
Behavior and Habitat
Coral snakes are nocturnal and reclusive. They are active at night and like to stay hidden. Coral snakes are shy and will flee from predators. So, It is improbable to come across a coral snake during the day. They can be found in nature, lying under rocks and decaying leaves. But, since they have such a secretive nature they can also be found in suburban areas. Coral snakes like to eat frogs, lizards, and other small smooth, non-scaly snakes. They eat small rodents and reptiles.
Non-Venomous Mimics of the Coral Snake
The scarlet king snake and the scarlet snake are the most popular mimics of the coral snake. They both can be easily confused for the coral snake due to their size and coloring. Both of these snakes are small and similarly colored as the coral snake. They have a red, black, and yellow color scheme. In contrast, the coral snake has a red, yellow, and black color scheme.
They are reclusive like the coral snake, but you will often find these snakes in trees, unlike the coral snake. Coral snakes do not get in trees. The scarlet king and the scarlet snakes” heads are not black; they are mostly red. Coral snakes’ heads are black.
If you see one, take a picture, walk away slowly, and do not try to pick it up.
Rhyme to Tell a Coral Snake from the Mimics
People have used a rhyme for years to determine if a snake is the venomous coral snake or the non-venomous scarlet king snake or scarlet snake.
Remember Red to Yellow can Kill.