The coral snake advertises that it is dangerous. Gleaming bands of bright colors warn that this animal is capable of inflicting a deadly bite. Coral snakes deliver their own special type of poison, which can be fatal to humans.
Red+Yellow=Dead: The eastern coral snake is the most widely known species of coral snake. It can be quickly identified by remembering the old saying: “Red on yellow, kill a fellow,” meaning the red bands touch the yellow bands.
Slim Snake: The coral snake is very slender. Its circumference as an adult is only about 4 inches - a little larger than a quarter.
Heads, You Lose
When threatened, the coral snake hides its head among the coils of its body and waves its tail as a distraction. If an enemy attacks its tail, it can have a nasty surprise in store when the head suddenly appears, baring deadly fangs.
Not Likely: The chances of seeing or being bitten by a coral snake are extremely small. The snake tends to be reclusive and strikes only as a means of defense. Less than 1% of the fatal snake bites in the world are the result of a coral snake bite.
Nerve Toxin: The snake’s venom is called a neurotoxin. It attacks the nervous system and causes the victim’s heart and lungs to stop working.
As a natural defense, king snakes and milk snakes have markings much like the coral snake, which confuses predators. These non-poisonous snakes will hiss and coil as if they could deliver a fatal bite. This tricks attackers into leaving the non-poisonous snakes alone. However, a lot of harmless snakes needlessly are killed each year by humans because the snakes are mistaken for coral snakes. There’s another saying to identify these fakers; “Red on black, friend of Jack,” meaning the red band touches the black one.
- The knowledge card says Coral Snakes. The trading card says Coral Snake.