Where Do Coral Snakes Live?

Coral snakes are a large group of elapid snakes that can be subdivided into two distinct groups, Old World coral snakes and New World coral snakes. There are 16 species of Old World coral snake in three genera (Calliophis, Hemibungarus, and Sinomicrurus), and over 65 recognized species of New World coral snakes in two genera (Micruroides and Micrurus). Genetic studies have found that the most basal lineages are Asian, indicating that the group originated in the Old World.[1][2]

Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Reptilia Order: Squamata Suborder: Serpentes Superfamily: Elapoidea Family: Elapidae Experts now recognize that coloration patterns and common mnemonics which people use to identify the deadly coral snake are occasionally inconsistent. Coral snakes in the United States are most notable for their red, yellow/white, and black colored banding.

However, several nonvenomous species in the United States have similar (though not identical) coloration, including the two scarlet snake species in the genus Cemophora and some of the kingsnakes and milk snakes in the genus Lampropeltis , whose banding however does not include any red touching any yellow; also, some ground snakes in the genus Sonora in the southwestern United States can have a color banding pattern that matches that of the sympatric Sonoran coral snake ( Micruroides euryxanthus ). No genuine coral snakes in the United States, however, exhibit red bands of color in contact with bands of black except in rare cases of an aberrant pattern. However, the mnemonic does not always hold true for North American coral snake species found south of the United States.

Some species like the Oaxacan coral snake ( Micrurus ephippifer ) in Mexico and Clark’s coral snake ( Micrurus clarki ) in Costa Rica and Panama do typically fit the mnemonic, while others like the saddled coral snake ( Micrurus bernadi ) in Mexico, Roatan coral snake ( Micrurus ruatanus ) in Honduras and redtail coral snake ( Micrurus mipartitus ) in Panama do not. Similarly, some South American coral snake species do typically fit the mnemonic while others do not. In contrast, none of the Old World coral snake species typically fit the mnemonic.

North American species average around 90 cm (3 ft) in length, but specimens of up to 150 cm (5 ft) or slightly larger have been reported. Aquatic species have flattened tails acting as fins, aiding in swimming. Coral snake showing typically reclusive behavior of hiding under rotting wood.

This one was over 75 cm (30 in) long, but less than 25 mm (1 in) across.Coral snakes vary widely in their behavior, but most are very elusive, fossorial (burrowing) snakes which spend most of their time buried beneath the ground or in the leaf litter of a rainforest floor, coming to the surface only when it rains or during breeding season. Some species, like Micrurus surinamensis , are almost entirely aquatic and spend most of their lives in slow-moving bodies of water that have dense vegetation. [4][5] The fangs are fixed in position rather than retractable, and rather than being directly connected to the venom duct, they have a small groove through which the venom enters the base of the fangs.

[6][7] Because the fangs are relatively small and inefficient for venom delivery, rather than biting quickly and letting go (like vipers ), coral snakes tend to hold onto their prey and make chewing motions when biting. [6][8] The venom takes time to reach full effect. Coral snakes are not aggressive or prone to biting and account for less than one percent of the total number of snake bites each year in the United States.

The life span of coral snakes in captivity is about seven years. New World coral snakes exist in the southern range of many temperate U.S. states. Coral snakes are found in scattered localities in the southern coastal plains from North Carolina to Louisiana, including all of Florida.

They can be found in pine and scrub oak sandhill habitats in parts of this range, but sometimes inhabit hardwood areas and pine flatwoods that undergo seasonal flooding. There is controversy about the classification of the very similar Texas coral snake as a separate species. The Arizona coral snake is classified as a separate species and genus and is found in central and southern Arizona, extreme southwestern New Mexico and southward to Sinaloa in western Mexico.

It occupies arid and semiarid regions in many different habitat types, including thornscrub, desert-scrub, woodland, grassland and farmland. However, relatively few bites are recorded due to their reclusive nature and the fact they generally inhabit sparsely populated areas. According to the American National Institutes of Health, there are an average of 1525 coral snake bites in the United States each year.

[13] When confronted by humans, coral snakes will almost always attempt to flee, and bite only as a last resort. In addition, coral snakes have short fangs ( proteroglyph dentition) that cannot penetrate thick leather clothing. Any skin penetration, however, is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention.

The powerful neurotoxin in the venom paralyzes the breathing muscles, often requiring mechanical or artificial respiration and large doses of antivenom to save a victim’s life. Though there is usually only mild pain associated with a bite, respiratory failure can occur within hours. Shortages of coral snake antivenin were previously reported, [14][15][16] but one source states that production has resumed [17] and, as of July 2021, [update] Pfizer indicates that antivenin is available.

Smith , 1943) Beddome’s coral snake ( India ) Calliophis bibroni ( Jan , 1858) Bibron’s coral snake (India) Calliophis bivirgatus ( F. Boie , 1827) blue Malaysian coral snake ( Indonesia , Cambodia , Malaysia , Singapore , Thailand ) Calliophis castoe ( E.N. Smith, Ogale, Deepak & Giri, 2012) Castoe’s coral snake (India) Calliophis gracilis ( Gray , 1835) spotted coral snake (Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore) Calliophis haematoetron ( E.N. Smith, Manamendra-Arachchi & Somweera, 2008) blood-bellied coral snake ( Sri Lanka ) Calliophis intestinalis ( Laurenti , 1768) banded Malaysian coral snake ( Indonesia , Malaysia ) Calliophis maculiceps ( Gnther , 1858) speckled coral snake ( Myanmar , Thailand , Malaysia , Vietnam , Cambodia , Laos ) Calliophis melanurus ( Shaw , 1802) Indian coral snake ( India , Bangladesh , Sri Lanka ) Calliophis nigrescens (Gnther, 1862) black coral snake (India) Calliophis salitan ( Brown, Smart, Leviton & Smith, 2018) Dinagat Island Banded Coralsnake (Philippines)

Reinhardt , 1844) Macclelland’s coral snake ( India , Nepal , Myanmar , Thailand , Vietnam , China , Ryukyu Islands , Taiwan ) Sinomicrurus sauteri ( Steindachner , 1913) (Taiwan) Schmidt , 1936) Allen’s coral snake (eastern Nicaragua , Costa Rica , and Panama ) Micrurus altirostris ( Cope , 1860) ( Brazil , Uruguay , and northeastern Argentina ) Micrurus ancoralis ( Jan , 1872) regal coral snake (southeastern Panama , western Colombia , and western Ecuador ) Micrurus annellatus ( W. Peters , 1871) annellated coral snake (southeastern Ecuador , eastern Peru , Bolivia , and western Brazil ) Micrurus averyi ( K.P. Schmidt & H.M. Smith , 1943) Brown’s coral snake ( Quintana Roo to Honduras ) Micrurus camilae ( Renjifo & Lundberg, 2003) ( Colombia ) Micrurus catamayensis ( Roze, 1989) Catamayo coral snake (Catamayo Valley of Ecuador ) Micrurus clarki ( K.P.

Schmidt, 1936) Merten’s coral snake Micrurus mipartitus (A.M.C. The role of coral snakes as models for Batesian mimics is supported by research showing that coral snake color patterns deter predators from attacking snake-shaped prey, [19][20] and that in the absence of coral snakes, species hypothesized to mimic them are indeed attacked more frequently. “Phylogenetic Relationships of Elapid Snakes Based on Cytochrome b mtDNA Sequences”.

“The phylogenetic relationships of Asian coral snakes (Elapidae: Calliophis and Maticora ) based on morphological and molecular characters”. ^ “The Most Common Myths About Coral Snakes | The Venom Interviews” . ^ Eastern Coral Snake ( Micrurus fulvius ) Archived 31 August 2015 at the Wayback Machine , Savannah River Ecology Library.

^ Coral Snakes: Colors, Bites, Farts & Facts Archived 24 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine , Live Science. ^ “Safety & Availability (Biologics) > Expiration Date Extension for North American Coral Snake Antivenin (Micrurus fulvius) (Equine Origin) Lot 4030026 Through October 31, 2014″ . “Differential avoidance of coral snake banded patterns by free-ranging avian predators in Costa Rica”.

Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume III., Containing the Colubrid (Opisthoglyph and Proteroglyph)… Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). Coral Snakes of the Americas: Biology, Identification, and Venoms .

“Diversity of Micrurus Snake Species Related to Their Venom Toxic Effects and the Prospective of Antivenom Neutralization”. El envenenamiento por mordedura de serpiente en Centroamrica (“Snakebite poisonings in Central America”).

Where do coral snakes live in the US?

Coral snakes are found in scattered localities in the southern coastal plains from North Carolina to Louisiana, including all of Florida. They can be found in pine and scrub oak sandhill habitats in parts of this range, but sometimes inhabit hardwood areas and pine flatwoods that undergo seasonal flooding.

Are coral snakes aggressive?

Coral snakes are small, vibrantly colored, highly venomous snakes. They have the second-strongest venom of any snake (the black mamba has the most deadly venom), but they are generally considered less dangerous than rattlesnakes because coral snakes have a less effective poison-delivery system.

Where do coral snakes hide?

Habitat of the Coral Snake. Some species are found exclusively in rainforests, others are native to salt marshes and wooded areas. They can be found in dry scrublands, swamps, pine flatwoods, and more. They prefer areas dense leaf litter and debris, where they can hide effectively.

How far north do coral snakes live?

They range from the southern United States to Argentina. Only two species, however, live in the United States. The eastern coral snake, or harlequin snake (Micrurus fulvius), which lives in the southeastern U.S., is about 1 metre (3.3 feet) long and has wide red and black rings separated by narrow rings of yellow.

Coral snakes are small, vibrantly colored, highly venomous snakes. They have the second-strongest venom of any snake (the black mamba has the most deadly venom), but they are generally considered less dangerous than rattlesnakes because coral snakes have a less effective poison-delivery system.

When provoked, coral snakes will sometimes make a popping sound by expelling air from their cloaca, a single opening for the urinary, reproductive and intestinal tract, to startle the threat. According to researcher Joseph F. Gemano Jr. in an article in Reptiles magazine, these “microfarts” have been observed in other species, such as the Western hook-nosed snake.

The most distinctive physical characteristics of coral snakes are their brightly colored and patterned bodies, short, fixed fangs and potent venom, according to Viernum. The best way to identify a coral snake is by its head, which is blunt and black to behind the eyes, and its bands that completely circle the body instead of breaking at the belly. Kingdom : Animalia Subkingdom : Bilateria Infrakingdom : Deuterostomia Phylum : Chordata Subphylum : Vertebrata Infraphylum : Gnathostomata Superclass : Tetrapoda Class : Reptilia Order : Squamata Suborder : Serpentes Infraorder : Alethinophidia Family : Elapidae Genera (Old World) : Calliophis , Hemibungarus and Sinomicrusus Genera (New World) : Leptomicrurus , Micruroides and Micrusus

According to the Florida Museum of Natural History , its body is entirely covered in bright bands of black, red and yellow. “Red on yellow, kill a fellow…” Coral snakes pack a nasty bite, inspiring folk rhymes to help people tell them apart from their non-venomous cousins. Fish and Wildlife Service) Western coral snakes live primarily in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and Northern Mexico.

According to Arizona Leisure , they like to live under rocks or burrow into sand or soil, and are often found in the rocky areas around Saguaro cacti. Eastern coral snakes lay six or seven eggs in the summer that hatch in early fall. Babies are born brightly colored, fully venomous, and 7 inches (17 cm) long.

According to National Geographic, though their venom is highly toxic, no deaths from coral snake bites have been reported in North America since the late 1960s, when antivenin was developed. Because of their small size, these snakes dont carry much venom in their fangs, so they may try to hold onto their victim for some time.

Micrurus tener is a species of venomous elapid snake. It is a relatively common and widespread snake found in the Southern United States and northeastern and central Mexico. There are four subspecies; the nominal subspecies found in both the US and Mexico is commonly known as the Texas coral snake.

Micrurus tener is common through the southern thorn-scrub portions of the state as well as the pine forests of the east. The Texas coral snake can also be found into the oak-juniper woodland areas of the Edwards Plateau and the eastern stretches of the Trans-Pecos.

coral snake, any of more than 100 species of small, secretive, and brightly patterned venomous snakes of the cobra family (Elapidae). New World coral snakes range in size from 40 to 160 cm (16 to 63 inches) and are classified in three genera (Leptomicrurus, Micruroides, and Micrurus); they are found mainly in the tropics. Three additional genera of related snakes live in Asia and Africa. Most species are tricoloured (rarely bicoloured), with various combinations of red, black, and yellow or white rings; width of the rings varies. All have smooth scales and a short tail. Short hollow fangs deliver a potent neurotoxic venom.

North American coloration patterns[edit]

Experts now recognize that coloration patterns and common mnemonics which people use to identify the deadly coral snake are occasionally inconsistent. While any snake exhibiting the coral snake’s color banding pattern in the southeastern United States will almost certainly in fact be a coral snake, there are coral snakes in other parts of the world which are colored differently.Coral snakes in the United States are most notable for their red, yellow/white, and black colored banding. However, several nonvenomous species in the United States have similar (though not identical) coloration, including the two scarlet snake species in the genusMost species of coral snake are small in size. North American species average around 90 cm (3 ft) in length, but specimens of up to 150 cm (5 ft) or slightly larger have been reported. Aquatic species have flattened tails acting as fins, aiding in swimming.

Behavior[edit]

Coral snakes vary widely in their behavior, but most are very elusive, fossorial (burrowing) snakes which spend most of their time buried beneath the ground or in the leaf litter of a rainforest floor, coming to the surface only when it rains or during breeding season. Some species, likeCoral snakes feed mostly on smaller snakes, lizards, frogs, nestling birds, small rodents, etc.Like all elapid snakes, coral snakes possess a pair of small hollow fangs to deliver their venom. The fangs are positioned at the front of the mouth.Coral snakes are not aggressive or prone to biting and account for less than one percent of the total number of snake bites each year in the United States. The life span of coral snakes in captivity is about seven years.

Distribution (U.S.)[edit]

New World coral snakes exist in the southern range of many temperate U.S. states. Coral snakes are found in scattered localities in the southern coastal plains from North Carolina to Louisiana, including all of Florida. They can be found in pine and scrub oak sandhill habitats in parts of this range, but sometimes inhabit hardwood areas and pine flatwoods that undergo seasonal flooding.There is controversy about the classification of the very similar Texas coral snake as a separate species. Its habitat, in Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas is separated from the eastern coral snake’s habitat by the Mississippi River. The coral snake population is most dense in the southeastern United States, but coral snakes have been documented as far north as Kentucky.The Arizona coral snake is classified as a separate species and genus and is found in central and southern Arizona, extreme southwestern New Mexico and southward to Sinaloa in western Mexico. It occupies arid and semiarid regions in many different habitat types, including thornscrub, desert-scrub, woodland, grassland and farmland. It is found in the plains and lower mountain slopes, at elevations ranging from sea level to 1,800 m (5,800 ft); often found in rocky areas.

Danger to humans[edit]

New World coral snakes possess one of the most potent venoms of any North American snake. However, relatively few bites are recorded due to their reclusive nature and the fact they generally inhabit sparsely populated areas. According to the American National Institutes of Health, there are an average of 15–25 coral snake bites in the United States each year.Shortages of coral snake antivenin were previously reported,

References[edit]

New World coral snakes serve as models for their Batesian mimics, false coral snakes, snake species whose venom is less toxic, as well as for many nonvenomous snake species that bear superficial resemblances to them. The role of coral snakes as models for Batesian mimics is supported by research showing that coral snake color patterns deter predators from attacking snake-shaped prey,

Bright colors

The most distinctive physical characteristics of coral snakes are their brightly colored and patterned bodies, short, fixed fangs and potent venom, according to Viernum. While only some species have elements of coral coloring, all species have eye-catching patterns and colors: red bands flanked by yellow bands.Because of the coral snake’s dangerous reputation, many nonpoisonous snakes disguise themselves as coral snakes by having similar body patterns. For example, Viernum said, the nonvenomous shovel-nosed snakehas yellow bands that touch black bands. Also, “Scarlet kingsnakes look very similar to Eastern coral snakes, but the red bands of a scarlet kingsnake are next to the black bands whereas the red bands of an eastern coral snake are next to the yellow bands.”Viernum said a rhyme was penned “as a way for people to quickly and easily differentiate between a nonvenomous snake and the toxic coral snake.” One version of the rhyme goes:Viernum said that the rhyme is “fairly accurate for snakes in the U.S. but it fails with the Old World coral snakes and many New World species found in Central and South America.” In other parts of the world, coral snakes may have red bands touching black bands, have pink and blue banding, or have no banding at all.The best way to identify a coral snake is by its head, which is blunt and black to behind the eyes, and its bands that completely circle the body instead of breaking at the belly.

Diet

Coral snakes are in the Elapidae family, as are cobras, sea snakes and black mambas. There are about 70 species of New World coral snakes and about 15 species of Old World coral snakes.The taxonomy of coral snakes, according to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS), is:

Reproduction

Unlike many other venomous snakes that give birth to live young, coral snakes lay eggs. According to the ADW, they are the only venomous snakes in North America to do so. Eastern coral snakes lay six or seven eggs in the summer that hatch in early fall. Western coral snakes lay two to three eggs. Babies are born brightly colored, fully venomous, and 7 inches (17 cm) long.

Bite

According to the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, unlike most other venomous snakes, the coral snake cannot contract its fangs into its mouth. Instead, they are constantly out and erect. Their fangs are relatively weak.According to National Geographic, though their venom is highly toxic, no deaths from coral snake bites have been reported in North America since the late 1960s, when antivenin was developed. No deaths from a Western coral snake have been reported at all. Nevertheless, their bites can be extremely painful and, if left untreated, can lead to cardiac arrest.Coral snakes’ small, fixed fangs and small mouth mean that it is difficult for them to puncture human skin — let alone leather boots. Humans are mostly bitten when trying to pick up a coral snake. Because of their small size, these snakes don’t carry much venom in their fangs, so they may try to hold onto their victim for some time.According to Viernum, “One of the most distinctive behavioral characteristics of coral snakes is how they deliver their venom. Since their fangs are short and fixed, they deliver their venom through chewing motions.” She described this process as “similar to the way Gila monsters deliver their venom to prey.”The snake’s neurotoxic venom causes rapid paralysis and respiratory failure in its prey; however, according to the National Institutes of Health, it can take many hours for symptoms to appear in humans. Additionally, there is often little or no pain or swelling in humans from a coral snake bite. If untreated by antivenom, however, symptoms will take effect. They include slurred speech, double vision, and muscular paralysis.