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While this is often a reliable way to determine if a snake is venomous or not, it is not a fail-safe. A good example of where this rhyme fails is with the coral snake versus the shovel-nose snake.
Both snakes have yellow bands that touch red bands. Only a bite from the coral snake will be life-threatening.
Though this mix up is harmless—the shovel-nose snake is seen as poisonous when it is really not—it still shows the old adages can be incorrect.
This rhyme becomes deadly when the eastern coral snake, which holds true to the rhyme, is compared to the South American coral snake, which has black bands touching red bands.
For more info that will help, read more about Coral Snake Look Alikes. True be told, there are no ways for an amateur snake hunter or an innocent hiker to tell if a snake is going to be venomous or not. It is true that certain dangerous snakes share characteristics, but there are just as many vipers that can appear harmless by traditional standards.
This is determined by combining characteristics on a list of identification guidelines and then taking that knowledge and applying it to a field guide.
Length, width, facial features, scale patterns, coloration, color pattern, and tail pattern are all ways of classifying a serpent. You cannot rely on color alone as the rhymes would imply. The coral snake is the culprit behind the nursery rhymes, though bites from these snakes are relatively uncommon in the modern world.
Centuries ago, when more people were involved with farming, coral snakes were often found in gardens and farmed plots of land. Unlike vipers, which retract their fangs after a bite, coral snakes will bite and then hold on to their adversary.
This is a hunting mechanism used on birds and other small animals to ensure the venom is delivered in full force. In North America, the rhymes can be considered accurate for staying safe. It may confuse a non-venomous snake for a venomous one, but there is not harm in that.
It is when you travel to other regions in the world that you cannot rely on the poem. The best advice when you encounter a snake that has red, yellow, white, and black banding is to avoid it.
There is no reason to have to handle the snake. If you are outside, move away. Coral snakes are not known to bite unless provoked or surprised.
Removing yourself from the area should solve your problem.This was Lanny's first rhyme book and it is great. Lanny covers nearly all of the stars of the then-WWF. It brings back so many memories as I read poems about such legends as Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Andre the Giant, Randy Savage and Jake the Snake.
Snake Rhyme–A Coral Snake Reminder - For some people a catchy rhyme is used to remember whether a snake is poisonous or not. This is especially true of the coral snake, one of the deadliest snakes in America. I'm pretty proud that I was able to catch Coral Snakes, and my good friend Ben recently caught a rare Scarlet Kingsnake in the wild (snake removal customer call), and that I've taken good photographs of both snakes side by side for comparison.
The rhyme applies only to the venomous coral snake in North America. The rhyme is to help a person distinguish between the venomous coral snake and other non-venomous snakes such as the milk snake and the Texas longnose snake that share the colors red, black, and yellow or white.
The Elephant Rhyme is also known as The Blind Men and the Elephant. The Elephant Rhyme was written by the American poet John Godfrey Saxe (). Edit Article How to Identify a Venomous Snake. In this Article: Article Summary Identifying Venomous North American Snakes Identifying Poisonous Snakes in the UK Identifying Venomous Snakes in India Identify the Deadliest Snakes in the World in Australia Community Q&A Snakes have captured our imagination—and fear—for as long as we've shared the planet together.