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Venomous snake safety - preventing and treating snakebites in the field

Updated: May 9, 2023

Every spring, our scaly friends will emerge from hibernation to help keep rodent populations in check.

Immature Prairie Rattlesnake
Immature Prairie Rattlesnake

Snakes terrify people, though the fear is usually unfounded. In this article, I am going to prepare you for the upcoming warm months when snakes become active. I will also offer a few recommendations for preventing snakebites, DO's and DO NOT's of snakebites, and some gear recommendations for living, working, hunting, and hiking in areas where snakes may be present. Nothing offered in this post can guarantee you will never be bitten by a snake. I mean, we aren't fortune-tellers.

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How many venomous snakes are in North America?

In North America (north of Mexico), there are currently 28 recognized species of venomous snakes (that are potentially dangerous to humans). Most readers can probably list a handful, but if you knew there were 28 moderate to highly venomous snakes in North America, you are kidding yourself. Or maybe you are really smart. I don't know you. But because I like you people... or need to eat up content space, I am going to provide you the full list, as accepted by the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles in the Checklist of the Standard English & Scientific Names of Amphibians & Reptiles, 8th ed (2017).

List of Venomous Snakes in the US and Canada

  • Florida Cottonmouth - Agkistrodon conanti

  • Eastern Copperhead - Agkistrodon contortrix

  • Broad-banded Copperhead - Agkistrodon laticinctus

  • Northern Cottonmouth - Agkistrodon piscivorus

  • Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake - Crotalus adamanteus

  • Western Diamondback Rattlesnake - Crotalus atrox

  • Sidewinder - Crotalus cerastes

  • Arizona Black Rattlesnake - Crotalus cerberus

  • Timber Rattlesnake - Crotalus horridus

  • Rock Rattlesnake - Crotalus lepidus

  • Western Black-tailed Rattlesnake - Crotalus molossus

  • Western Rattlesnake - Crotalus oreganus

  • Eastern Black-tailed Rattlesnake - Crotalus ornatus

  • Twin-spotted Rattlesnake - Crotalus pricei

  • Southwestern Speckled Rattlesnake - Crotalus pyrrhus

  • Red Diamond Rattlesnake - Crotalus ruber

  • Mohave Rattlesnake - Crotalus scutulatus

  • Panamint Rattlesnake - Crotalus stephensi

  • Tiger Rattlesnake - Crotalus tigris

  • Prairie Rattlesnake - Crotalus viridis

  • Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake - Crotalus willardi

  • Yellow-bellied Seasnake - Hydrophis platurus

  • Sonoran Coralsnake - Micruroides euryxanthus

  • Harlequin Coralsnake - Micrurus fulvius

  • Texas Coralsnake - Micrurus tener

  • Eastern Massasauga - Sistrurus catenatus

  • Pygmy Rattlesnake - Sistrurus miliarius

  • Western Massasauga - Sistrurus tergeminus

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
Western Diamondback Rattlesnake


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