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What are some tips for snake identification in Texas?

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Quick Answer

To identify a snake in Texas, check the snake's color, pupil type and the shape of the snake's head. The pattern on the snake, such as diamond shapes or stripes, may also be used for identification.

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What are some tips for snake identification in Texas?
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Full Answer

Snakes are typically identified using color and pattern styles. For instance, the diamondback rattlesnake is usually a combination of brown and dark brown and features a diamond-shaped pattern on its back. The rattlesnake can range from black or gray to light brown, but the rattlesnake has a button on its tail that signals a distinctive warning sound when the snake is threatened.

Coral and milk snakes are often confused because both feature vertical red, yellow and black stripes. The coral snake's yellow stripes touch the red stripes, however, while the milk snake's yellow stripes are located directly beside black stripes. Cottonmouth and copperhead snakes are also brown and black and feature a vertical, striped pattern along the back of the snake.

It is possible to differentiate between venomous and nonvenomous snakes by examining the snake's head shape and pupil. The pupil of a nonvenomous snake is rounded, while a venomous snake's pupil looks like a slit. The head of the venomous snake is typically triangular in appearance, while a nonvenomous snake's head is rounded. A nonvenomous snake, such as a garter snake, may flatten its head when threatened to frighten predators. Pit vipers, such as rattlesnakes, also have a pit located above the nostril.

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