Poisonous Snakes of Alabama

rattlesnakeOne concern that I hear from many people when looking at land for sale in Alabama is identification of poisonous snakes.  I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on identifying the ones that I am likely to come across, and the snakes likely reaction to contact with a human.  In Alabama we have several types of rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouth water moccassains, and coral snakes.  I personally have never seen a coral snake, but have had encounters with all of the others.  In my experience, a rattlesnake will stand his ground, but pretty much leave you alone if you will do the same.  Most copperheads I have only seen as they were trying to get away.  Cottonmouths are a different story though.  These snakes are agressive.  If you see any of these snakes, its best to move in the other direction, but especially in the case of the cottonmouth.   I am told coral snakes are few in number and live in sandy-soiled areas near the coast, but I know of one that was found as far north as Coosa County recently.   

Areas that are somewhat overgrown, and undisturbed most of the time are prime areas to run across one of these critters.  Anytime in Alabama is time for snakes.  I have seen snakes in December.  I have seen snakes in February.  There is no time that you do not need to be guarded.  In my line of work, I tend to run across more than most.  I venture to guess that only foresters would run across more than someone who does what I do for a living.  Turkey hunters tend to run across a few too.   I reccomend snake boots or chaps when walking in the woods.  Many places are remote, and the likelyhood of you making it out and to a hospital after a bite is definetly not 100%.  

To help you identify which snakes to worry about and which ones not to, I have gathered a few websites with some very helpful information.  Take a look at these sites.  This could be information that is as serious as life gets.

Is That Snake Poisonous?
By Randy Liles, Area Biologist, Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries

Snakes in Alabama – a guide on the Outdoor Alabama website

Here is an article on About.com about what to do avoid contact with a snake and how to handle it when you do encounter one…http://huntsville.about.com/od/tips/a/alasnake.htm

Here is a great publication from the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service on snake ID
http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR-1308/

One thought on “Poisonous Snakes of Alabama

  1. AlaLandMan,

    That was a good article, and I am most pleased that you have redirected folks to information and sites written (for the most part) by snake experts. All too often, people spread misinformation that they have accumulated from the snake-fearing public and disseminate it to the masses with no regard to fact.

    In my personal experience, (I have studied snakes for over 30 years), I have yet to come across what I would call an “aggressive” snake – including the Cotton Mouths. Nearly all of them will either sit tight or move away and only strike when cornered. There may be individuals out there that, due to health, poor eye-sight, injuries etc., may exhibit aggressive behavior, but the experience of myself and countless herpetologists have found the Water Moccasin to be no more aggressive than most other venomous snakes.

    Thanks!

    Snake Buddies

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