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Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix) Distribution – Eastern 1/3 of Texas Habitat – Wooded areas, rocky hillsides Identification – plates on head, pit & elliptical pupil; brown hourglass bands Nocturnal – hibernates Young – 2-10 (8 ½”) with yellow tail Seldom lethal Food – Mice, Shrews, small Birds, & Insects
Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) Most numerous, venomous snake Size – 3-4’, some up to 6+’ Distribution – Western 2/3 of Texas Habitat – variable Identification – black & white banded tail, diamond look to back, chocolate diagonal jaw line Winter – communal dens Summer – may range up to 3 miles Young – 9-14 born in September
Diamondback rattlesnake (Cratalus atrox) Most dangerous serpent in state Venom 17% neurotoxin 53% blood toxic enzymes 30% tissue digesting protease Symptoms Immediate, severe pain Sweating, weakness, swelling, chills, faint, dizzy, vomiting, lymph nodes swelling Few deaths Peripheral morbidity is high 50% are dry bites Rattles – 2-4 added each year Food – rabbits, mice, & birds
Texas Coral Snake (Micrurus fulvius) Size – 2’ Habitat – leaf litter, Pine Oak Forest, Cedar Oak Identification – red & yellow bands touching; tail has double row of scales Young – white sausage-shaped eggs, hatch June & July Venom more virulent than any N. American species 8X stronger than diamondback neurotoxin – 5-10 mg lethal often no venom injected Non-aggressive – 1% of snake venom poisonings Food – other Snakes
Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) Potency of venom – ¾ that of Diamondback Rattlesnake Size – 30-48” Distribution – Eastern ½ of Texas Habitat – dense thicket, woodland Identification – cinnamon vertebral stripe & side chevrons, black tail Nocturnal Young – live bearing
Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) Low venom capacity Food – rabbits, mice, & rats
Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)
Western Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus) Size – 20-30” Habitat – aquatic; sometimes called Cottonmouth Water Moccasin (seldom far away from water) Identification – genus has 9 large plates; no rattle; resembles non-toxic types & has vertical eyes with pit; flicks jaw open Nocturnal – basks in sun during day Young – live-bearing 3-5 young
Western Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus) Only 7% of toxic snake bites Pugnacious – very aggressive; long fangs Food – fish, amphibians, mammals, & birds
Western Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus) Sensitive to temperature above 93 Size – 2’ Distribution – Panhandle to Gulf Coast Prairie Identification – have 9 large crown scales; related to Cottonmouth & Copperhead
Western Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus) Nocturnal Low venom capacity Food – small mammals (mice & shrews), lizards, & small snakes
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