Venomous snakes native to Mississippi are rattlesnakes, the cottonmouth, the copperhead and the eastern coral snake. All of these snakes are pit vipers except for the eastern coral snake. Pit vipers have heat-sensing pits in their heads to help them find prey.
The three main species of rattlesnake are the eastern diamondback, three subspecies of the pygmy rattlesnake and the timer rattlesnake. The largest is the eastern diamondback, and the smallest is the pygmy rattlesnake. Rattlesnakes are distinguished by the modified, dead scales on the tips of their tails. The snake vibrates these scales, or rattles, when it is agitated.
The cottonmouth gets its name from the white lining of its mouth. It reaches about 48 inches long and lives near water. Young cottonmouths may be brightly patterned, but the body of an adult is usually dark olive green or black.
The body of a copperhead has a pattern of pinkish-coppery hourglasses. These snakes are fairly shy and seldom attack. But when they do, they don't give a warning.
The eastern coral snake is a venomous slender snake related to the cobra. Its body has a pattern of black, red and yellow bands. Because of this pattern, the coral snake is often confused with the nonvenomous scarlet king snake.