North Carolina is not necessarily known for it’s poisonous creatures, though snakes top the list in number of species that are poisonous. From the mountains to the coastal plains, there exists at least one species of venomous snake in the state of North Carolina. All of these snakes are pit vipers except for the Eastern Coral Snake. Here are the five snakes you should look out for.
Copperhead: The Copperhead is a rather robust snake that is quite common throughout the state.
These snakes have dens that they will go to annually as long the den is still available. From my experience working under houses, Copperheads like to nest in pairs and are usually seen two at a time in areas with similar conditions as crawl spaces such as wood piles, old debris, etc. Normally this snake is found in wooded areas and around ponds or streams.
Water Moccasin: This snake can be found mostly within eastern North Carolina but is found occasionally in the Piedmont region of the state. The Water Moccasin is identified by a stripe on the side of it’s head and can be found near the water as it’s name implies. This snake’s bite can be deadly if not treated quickly.
Timber Rattlesnake: The Timber Rattlesnake is found throughout North Carolina with the exception of a few counties in the northeastern part of the state. This snake is extremely venomous but it does well to keep out of the way of humans for the most part. These snakes are diurnal and nocturnal hunters but prefer night hunting on hot days. They are common in swamps, wooded areas, and rocky outcroppings. These snakes will usually give you a loud warning when you are close.
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake: This is possibly the most dangerous snake in North Carolina. Though rare, the Eastern Diamondback has highly potent venom and has the distinction of being North America’s largest venomous snake at 8 feet in length on the larger end of the spectrum. Though the Eastern Coral Snake has a more toxic venom, this snake is more aggressive and can strike from quite a distance. The Eastern Diamondback can be found in the southeastern region of North Carolina in fields, wooded areas, and bushes.
Eastern Coral Snake: This is the most venomous snake in North Carolina. It is in the same family as cobras and sea snakes which is the reason for the high toxicity of it’s venom, a potent neurotoxin. This is an extremely timid snake and will slither away when it hears human activity approaching, but should not be messed with or picked up under any circumstances. The Coral Snake is located mostly in the southeastern region of the state and, like the Easter Diamondback, is quite rare. There are several harmless snakes that mimic the Coral Snake but have a stripe pattern of red-to-black as opposed to red-to-yellow. I remember a rhyme from when I was younger: “Red to black, you’re okay Jack. Red to yellow, you’re a dead fellow.”