Snakes: Should You Actually Be Afraid Of Them?

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Katherine Matras, Writer

If you saw a snake coming towards you, you probably would scream! Many people are afraid of snakes, but is that rational? Before you scream in terror when you see a snake, identify if and how harmful it is to you first.

Garter Snake

Many snakes are poisonous, but not all. If you are in your garden, a meadow, or a field and you see a small black and yellow snake, chances are it’s a garter snake! Garter snakes are small, non-poisonous snakes that are common in New Jersey.  

 

 

 

Coral Snake (Venomous)

Another species of non-poisonous snakes is the king snake, which is often confused with the coral snake. The coral snake is a species of snake which is venomous. Both snakes are red, black, and yellow. To remember which is which, there is a saying: Red touches yellow, could kill a fellow. Red touches black, venom lack. If you see a red, black, and yellow snake where the red scales touch the black scales, it is safe. But if you see a red, black, and yellow snake where the red scales touch the yellow scales, that’s when it’s time to run!

King Snake (Non-venomous)

  

Timber Rattlesnake

While not all snakes are poisonous, some of them are. The Timber Rattlesnake is a grayish-brown snake with brown or black stripes. They are native to the United States and are poisonous. While its venom may not be deadly, you still should try to avoid being bitten by one.

Copperhead Snake

Another snake you should avoid is the Copperhead snake. They are about 7-10 inches long. Baby copperhead snake venom is just as toxic as adult copperhead snake venom.

 

So, to answer the question: Should you actually be afraid of snakes? The answer is: not all of them. If you see a garter snake or a king snake, you should not be afraid, they can’t hurt you. But if you see a coral snake, copperhead snake, or other venomous snake, that’s when it is okay to be afraid.

 

Works Cited

“Common Garter Snake – Northwest Wildlife Preservation Society.” Northwest Wildlife Preservation Society, https://www.northwestwildlife.com/learn/species-reports/common-garter-snake/. Accessed 6 December 2022.

“Eastern Copperhead – Florida Snake ID Guide.” Florida Museum, 23 September 2022, https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/florida-snake-id/snake/eastern-copperhead/. Accessed 6 December 2022.

“Garter Snake Fast Facts (U.S.” National Park Service, 25 March 2022, https://www.nps.gov/articles/000/garter-snake-fast-facts.htm. Accessed 6 December 2022.

“Kingsnakes – Fort Bowie National Historic Site (U.S.” National Park Service, 15 September 2021, https://www.nps.gov/fobo/learn/nature/kingsnakes.htm. Accessed 6 December 2022.

“Northern copperhead | Smithsonian’s National Zoo.” National Zoo, https://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/northern-copperhead. Accessed 6 December 2022.

“Snake | San Diego Zoo Animals & Plants.” Animals (San Diego Zoo), https://animals.sandiegozoo.org/animals/snake. Accessed 6 December 2022.

“Snakes of New Jersey Brochure.” NJ.gov, https://www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/ensp/pdf/snake_broch.pdf. Accessed 6 December 2022.

“Timber Rattlesnake – Florida Snake ID Guide.” Florida Museum, 23 September 2022, https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/florida-snake-id/snake/timber-rattlesnake/. Accessed 6 December 2022.

Van Valen, Mike. “Introduction to New World Coral Snakes – Wild Snakes : Education and Discussion.” Wild Snakes : Education and Discussion, 9 May 2018, https://wsed.org/introduction-to-new-world-coralsnakes/. Accessed 6 December 2022.