Coral Snake

Coral snakes are found in tropical regions of North America and are often confused with nonpoisonous (nonvenomous) milk snakes because they look similar. A coral snake can be up to 3 ft (1 m) long and has: Red, yellow, and black bands along the length of the body. Round pupils and a black nose. Fangs. Coral snakes tend…

Coral Snake

Topic Overview

Coral snakes are found in tropical regions of North America and are often confused with nonpoisonous (nonvenomous) milk snakes because they look similar.

A coral snake can be up to 3 ft (1 m) long and has:

  • Red, yellow, and black bands along the length of the body.
  • Round pupils and a black nose.
  • Fangs. Coral snakes tend to chew on their victims for a few seconds and may leave tooth marks with or without fang marks.

At first, mild pain may be the only symptom of a coral snake bite. Within 90 minutes, a feeling of weakness or numbness may occur in the bitten extremity.

Other symptoms may appear up to 12 to 24 hours after a bite. Symptoms may include:

  • Increased salivation and drooling.
  • Drowsiness or euphoria.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Numbness and tingling (paresthesia).

Symptoms that occur less often include double vision, trouble breathing, sweating, muscle aches, and confusion. In rare cases, a person may die from a coral snake bite.

If you think you have been bitten by a coral snake, call 911 or other emergency services immediately.

Related Information

Credits

Current as ofJune 26, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Sean P. Bush, MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine, Envenomation Specialist

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