The 7 Venomous Snakes That Live In Louisiana And Where They’re All Located
Snakes are amongst the most feared things on earth. Here is a list of the seven venomous species that live in Louisiana as well as their respective locations.
With the weather warming up, it will be more and more common to see snakes beginning to come out of hiding. Contrary to popular belief, a shovel is not the best way to avoid danger from these legless animals — education is.
While browsing the Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries website, I realized they literally had everything you would possibly need to know about the snakes of Louisiana, so I decided to take some of that information* and share it with anyone else who may be deathly afraid of these animals they don’t really know much about.
Of the 54 species that inhabit Louisiana, only seven snakes are venomous and our friends over at Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries say that the best way to stay safe is to be able to identify them, and understand their behavior.
Here are those seven venomous snakes, and where they are all located in Louisiana.
The Canebrake Rattlesnake is 25-70 inches in length. It has light tan or beige above with dark brown cross bands and a reddish stripe down the middle of the back. Look for a brown band from eye to angle of mouth. Its tail is dark gray or black and its scales are keeled. Normally, Canebrake rattlers live in forests and wooded areas, logs etc. They normally emerge in mid-spring and prefer to feed on rodents and then return to hibernating by early fall. Lucky for those living in Acadiana, there are no records of the Canebrake Rattlesnake in the area west of the Atchafalaya Basin.
One of the more noticeable venomous snakes of Louisiana, the Copperhead is beige, tan or pale gray, often with a dull pink or orange tint above. Copperhead snakes usually measure 14-45 inches with broad, darker brown, hourglass-shaped cross bands that are slightly paler on the lower sides with a whitish underside. There is no pattern on the head and younger Copperheads have a bright yellow tail. They are normally most active in the summer — during late nights and early mornings — preferring to feed on frogs and rodents. Copperheads are not unaggressive, but what makes them dangerous is they normally remain motionless and camouflaged.
Cottonmouth snakes are usually dark brown or nearly black in color, with subtle cross bands of the same color. They measure from 15 to 55 inches and the side of their heads are black with a white line from the eye to the angle of the mouth. Cottonmouth snakes have noticeable large blackish blotches on their dark undersides with keeled scales. They are found everywhere in Louisiana, often in swampy areas. They seldom stray from areas near, in and around bodies of water; both moving and standing. They are very defensive, and when threatened they will coil up and open their mouth to reveal a white lining and shake their tails. Cottonmouth snakes usually feed on fish, frogs, other water snakes and small mammals.
Although there have only been 8 records of the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake in Louisiana, residents should still be aware of this snake. They measure 25-90 inches and are brown or tan above with dark brown, pale-edged, diamond-shaped markings. The Eastern Diamondback has dark bands bordered by light stripes that extend diagonally through eyes. They inhabit a relatively small area in the eastern part of the state, feeding on small rabbits and large rodents. Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes are usually found in open pinelands of Louisiana, near Mississippi.
Coral snakes are very rarely encountered due to their secretive nature. They remain hidden most of the time in dry, wooded areas favoring pine lands and mixed forest. They are 15-36 inches long with a very distinct series of wide black and red rings, separated by narrow yellow rings around their entire body. They have smooth scales with a black snout with a yellow rear head. If you come into contact with a Coral snake, the best thing to do would be to leave it alone. They don’t strike, but may bite if they are carelessly handled. They usually feed on lizards and other smaller snakes. Coral snakes are only found in a small eastern part of Louisiana that borders Mississippi.
Pygmy rattlesnakes tend to avoid swampy areas. They favor areas with a grassy base like pinelands, dry coastlands, and palmetto flatwoods. Pygmy rattlesnakes are anywhere from 10-20 inches long. They are pale gray or tan above, with a row of significantly dark blotches or spots down the back and one row on each side. They have a reddish or orange band down the back and a wide black band along the side of the head. Their underside is whitish, gray or tan with brown blotches or spots with scales keeled. In comparison to other rattlesnake species, the Pygmy’s rattle is very small.
Almost identical to the Harlequin Coral snake, the Texas coral snake measures 15-36 inches. They have a series of wide black and red rings, separated by narrow yellow rings. Their snout is black and the rear of the Texas Coral snake head is yellow. It’s scales are smooth and the first black ring on the neck covers the rear tips of the two large shields on the crown of the head. They primarily inhabit areas of the state that are north of Abbeville and west of Acadiana.
Time and time again, snakes top off the list of things people are afraid of, but the truth is out of the 2500+ species around the world, only about 30 of them pose any real threat to humans. but make no mistake, the the deadly harm that small percentage is capable of should not be taken lightly.
Here is a video that shows exactly what snake venom does to blood.
Your best bet when coming across snakes that you’re uninformed about — is leaving them alone. If you have any questions, or need any more information on all 54 venomous and nonvenomous species of snakes in Louisiana, head on over to the official website of the Louisiana Department Of Wildlife & Fisheries.
Be safe, and remember, they’re way more afraid of you than you are of them!
*All information provided by Louisiana Department Of Wildlife & Fisheries