Snakes are fascinating creatures that are found all over North America. While some people fear them, others find them interesting and beautiful. If you want to learn more about the common snakes of North America, this guide to identification and behavior will give you a great starting point.
First, let’s talk about the types of snakes you might find in North America. There are over 120 different species of snakes in North America, but most of them are non-venomous. The venomous snakes that you may encounter include:
– Copperheads: These snakes are found in the eastern and central United States and have distinctive hourglass-shaped patterns.
– Rattlesnakes: There are many different species of rattlesnake found across North America. They have a rattle on the end of their tails that they use as a warning signal.
– Coral snakes: These snakes have brightly colored bands (red-yellow-black) and are found in the southern United States.
Of course, there are many more types of snakes in North America, many of which are non-venomous. Here are a few of the more common varieties:
– Garter snakes: These small, thin snakes are found all over the United States and Canada. They are usually brown or green with stripes down their backs.
– Rat snakes: These snakes are found throughout North America and can grow up to 6 feet long. They are usually brown or black with lighter bellies.
– Black racers: These agile snakes are found in the southeastern United States and can move quickly when frightened. They are usually black with a white chin.
Now, let’s talk about identifying snakes. There are a few key features to look for when trying to identify a snake:
– Head shape: Venomous snakes have triangular-shaped heads, while non-venomous snakes have more rounded heads.
– Eye shape: Venomous snakes have elliptical pupils, while non-venomous snakes have round pupils.
– Scale patterns: Different types of snakes have different patterns of scales on their bodies. Look for stripes, bands, or blotches to help identify the type of snake you’re looking at.
Finally, let’s talk about snake behavior. Remember that most snakes are not aggressive and will only bite if they feel threatened. Here are a few things to keep in mind when encountering a snake:
– Back away slowly: If you see a snake, don’t startle it. Move away slowly and give it plenty of space.
– Don’t try to catch or handle snakes: Unless you are a trained professional, it is not safe to try to handle snakes.
– Snakes can be beneficial: Many snakes prey on rodents and other pests, making them an important part of the ecosystem.
In summary, the common snakes of North America are a fascinating group of creatures that are worthy of our respect and admiration. By learning to identify them and understanding their behavior, we can coexist with these important members of our natural world.