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What are the poisonous snakes of Florida?

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Quick Answer

According to the Florida Museum of Natural History, there are only six species of venomous snakes in Florida. These species are the coral snake, three species of rattlesnakes (the Eastern diamondback rattlesnake, the timber rattlesnake and the dusky pygmy rattler), copperheads and cottonmouths (also called water moccasins).

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Full Answer

Coral snakes are brightly colored with rings of red, yellow and black. They are found throughout Florida and are often noticed when piles of debris are moved or cleared. Copperheads, sometimes called highland moccasins or chunkheads, are usually around 2 to 3 feet long with a thick, stocky body. They have a characteristic pattern of dark brown, hourglass-shaped bands on a lighter brown background. These snakes are only found in the panhandle of Florida, usually near water. Cottonmouths are large, dark-colored snakes found throughout Florida, usually in or near water. The Eastern diamondback is a large snake with a characteristic pattern of dark diamonds, and it is often found in woodlands. The timber rattlesnake has a brown stripe down its back through a pattern of dark chevrons. Timber rattlesnakes prefer wet areas such as swamps and river bottoms. Pygmy rattlers are medium-sized, thick-bodied snakes with a stripe down the back and a pattern of dark blotches. They are commonly encountered along the banks of canals.

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