North American coral snake

Micrurus fulvius

SUBFAMILY

Elapinae

TAXONOMY

Coluber fulvius Linnaeus, 1766, Carolina. OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Northern coral snake; Spanish: Serpiente-coralillo arlequin.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

This slender snake reaches a length of 18-28 in (45-70 cm), but one specimen was recorded at 51 in (130 cm). It has thick red and black bands and thin yellow bands in an alternating pattern with yellow between black and red.

DISTRIBUTION

Eastern and southeastern United States from North Carolina to the southern tip of Florida, west to eastern and southern Texas and south to central Mexico.

HABITAT

The North American coral snake habitat is highly variable, ranging from forest to desert.

BEHAVIOR Little is known.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

This snake eats mainly small lizards, but it also consumes other snakes. It is an active forager that seems to be able to follow odor trails left by potential prey.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

The female snake lays as many as 13 eggs but generally fewer than nine.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

This is a venomous species. Bites can be fatal, but fatal bites now are rare because of habitat encroachment and the introduction of antivenin. ♦

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