Venomous Snakes in South Florida: Part 2
November 21, 2016
It is important to be able to identify the four venomous snakes that are commonly found in South Florida so that you can avoid their severe and potentially fatal bites. In part one we learned all about the Cottonmouth Water Moccasins and the Eastern Coral Snakes, as well as how to conclusively identify them. For part two of this segment I chose the two rattlesnakes that are commonly encountered in South Florida: the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake and the Dusky Pigmy Rattlesnake. Hopefully you will be able to easily identify these dangerous snakes after reading these detailed descriptions. Also, you will learn a little bit of information about the non-venomous snakes that they are often confused with and the reasons for the confusion.
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
Diamondbacks have a brown coloration, usually with a diamond-like pattern in which the darker shaded diamond shapes are trimmed by a creamy colored outline.
They choose to live in high, dry areas. In addition, habitats are more likely to support diamondbacks if gopher tortoises are also present. Humans are unlikely to encounter them because they do not live close to areas inhabited by man.
They prey only on warm-blooded animals.
Claim to Fame:
Diamondbacks are the largest venomous snake in North America.
Diamondbacks are either diurnal and active during the day, or crepuscular and active during the twilight hours. They are not active at night. They will warn you with the sound from their rattle. Heed their warning and retreat slowly but surely.
Curiously, diamondbacks living in the northern parts of Florida generally have more toxic venom than those living in the southern regions.
Even though their patterning is actually not at all similar, the Florida pine snake is often mistaken for eastern diamondback because of where they are both commonly found in the highlands.
Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake
Pygmy rattlesnakes are very small in size. They have a grey coloring with black blotches all over their bodies and a dotted reddish-orange line running straight down their backs. Their coloration is used to identify them. Their size and color allow them to easily camouflage with the background.
Pygmy rattlesnakes are also known as ground snakes because they are usually found on the ground.
They eat lizards, amphibians and rodents. Pygmy rattlesnakes will grow larger when their diet includes more of the high-in-protein rodents.
Unlike the diamondback rattlesnakes, you should not count on hearing the warning rattle of a pygmy rattlesnake because it does not produce much sound due to its thin shape and smaller size.
Claim to Fame:
Pygmy rattlesnakes are the most common venomous snakes in Florida, which probably explains why they are also responsible for more reported venomous bites than any other snake in Florida.
The Eastern Hog Nose Snake is commonly mistaken as the pygmy rattlesnake.
If you have any questions about any of the four venomous snakes found in South Florida or if you are interested in our pest control services, please call one of our Nozzle Nolen representatives at (888) 685-0376.
"About Florida Venomous Snakes - Identification and Bite Advice." Snakes. 24/7 Wildlife Removal, 2009. Web. <http://www.247wildlife.com/venomousnakes.htm>.
Snakes of Florida: The Good, the Bad & the Friendly. Dir. Joe Burbank. Perf. Nick Clark. Youtube. Orlando Sentinel, 27 May 2014. Web. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCtxNUqYaeA>.
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