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The Coral Snake
(Micrurus fulvius tenere)
The coral snake is likely the most gaudy of North American venomous snakes. This snake has a multitude of natural mimics which try to pose as the dangerous coral.
The beauty of this snake represents a true danger as small children may readily pick it up to show parents, thus providing ample opportunity for a bite from this otherwise rather docile reptile.

The snake is classed with several Old World species like the neurotoxic cobras, kraits, and mambas.

Typically very small by comparison, averaging only 20 inches or so, this snake is seldom seen and tends to be very nocturnal.

The snake spends much of its life underground in cracks and crevices.

The grooved jaw along with tiny hollow fixed fangs assure that the coral has a poor delivery system for getting its venom into the victim. However, the coral snake does not have to "chew" its victim to inflict a painfully venomous bite, contrary to popular myth.
The diet of the coral snake consists primarily of small lizards, snakes, reptiles and amphibians.

When disturbed the coral snake often lays its head out of sight and rattles its flattened elevated tail and emits a popping sound with its vent lining.

The coral snake lays a clutch of 2 to 3 eggs in the summer and, unlike the live-young bearing pit vipers, is the only poisonous snake in North America to lay eggs.
 

 

Authored by CONCISE COMMUNICATIONS. This page last updated on 05/20/97.
Copyright 1997 CONCISE COMMUNICATIONS & TNE, Inc. All rights reserved.
Information in this document is subject to change without notice.
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