ARIZONA CORAL SNAKE


Scientific name: Micruroides euryxanthus euryxanthus

Size

Mature Arizona Coral Snakes can reach up to 21 inches in length, and average between 12-18 inches.

Description

Arizona Coral Snakes are colorful snakes. They have rings or rings of black, yellow, and red around their bodies. Sometimes the yellow rings appear more white than yellow on the Arizona Coral Snake. The yellow rings are thinner than the black and red rings. The last several inches of the tail of the Arizona Coral Snake contains several rings of black and yellow, without the red rings. Several other snakes are colored similarly, with black, yellow, and red rings, but there is a phrase to help identify coral snakes from these other look-alikes:

Red touches yellow - kill a fellow
Red touches black - venom lack

There are several different versions of this simple rhyme, but the key to it is - if the red and yellow rings touch, it's probably a coral snake. Another quick identifying feature is that the coral snake's head or nose is typically black. There are exceptions to this rule, but if the nose is black, it's probably a coral snake. If you are unsure what kind of snake it is, leave it alone.

Like all coral snakes, the Arizona Coral Snakes have small, fixed fangs in the front of their mouth. They do not have hinged fangs like the pit vipers.

Distribution

In the United States, the Arizona Coral Snake is found in Arizona and New Mexico.
Map of US states the Arizona Coral Snake is found in.
Map does not show area of true distribution, only the states in which there is a population.
Actual distribution in any highlighted state may be limited.

Notes

Arizona Coral Snakes are secretive and shy snakes that are rarely seen. They are highly venomous snakes, but bites are relatively rare. Most bites occur when a snake is stepped on, or when someone attempts to handle an Arizona Coral Snake. Some say that the mouth of Arizona Coral Snakes are so small that they can only bite fingers or loose folds of skin - this is simply not true.

Arizona Coral Snake
Photo used by permission:
© 2011 Wolfgang Wuster

For more information on venomous snakes, please see the Venomous Links page.


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