What do they look like? How big are they?
Most of the snakes found in the eastern United States (areas east of the Mississippi River) are not venomous. Here are a few that are:
Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus)Cottonmouths are found in southeastern United States, getting only as far north as southern Virginia and southern Illinois. They are black in color with a cottony white inside to their mouth, which they will show when frightened and which gave them their name. They grow to 3-4 feet in length. They feed on fish, frogs, and even other snakes so they are typically found near water. Cottonmouths are vipers and are venomous.
Northern Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix)Copperheads are found throughout the eastern United States, ranging between Massachusetts, Florida, and Nebraska. They are tan with brown mottling on their backs. They grow to about 2.5 feet in length. Copperheads feed on mice, birds, and lizards. They are often found under logs in grassy areas. They are vipers and are venomous.
Eastern Coral Snake (Micrurus fulvius)Eastern Coral Snakes are found in the south, including areas in Florida through Louisiana. They grow to between 20 and 30 inches in length. They are marked with alternating red and black rings that have yellow stripes lining each. They feed on other snakes and typically live under logs or leaf litter on the ground. Coral snakes are elapids (the same family as cobras) and they are venomous.
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus)Eastern Diamondback rattlesnakes are found from Florida to North Carolina and east to Lousiana. They are brownish with white-outlined diamonds on their backs. They grow over 5 feet in length. Diamondbacks feed on rodents like mice and rats. They are typically found on the ground, often near logs that mice use as “runways”. Rattlesnakes are vipers and venomous.
Eastern Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus)The Eastern Massasauga is found in the northern portion of the eastern United States. They are a relatively small rattlesnake that grows to between 20 and 30 inches in length. They are gray with brown spots along their bodies. They feed on small rodents like mice and voles. They are typically found in grassy areas on the ground. Massasaugas are vipers and are venomous. They are endangered throughout much of their range.
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