While the site topic is the venomous snakes of the Eastern United States we also have information on all of the venomous snakes found in the United States from Rattlesnakes (Crotalus)to the lone Sea Snake (Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake) you can learn about them and also learn to identify them to better avoid them in the wild.
People occasionally encounter snakes around the home, workplace, or in their local enviroment and wonder what to do about the snakes and whether they are dangerous. In most cases, the snakes are the harmless types such as gartersnakes, ratsnakes, or watersnakes.
Knowledge about snakes is helpful in understanding how to handle situations where they are encountered. Consider purchasing a good field guide and reviewing books at libraries to help sharpen your indentification skills. Both are a good way to learn about snakes and how to indentify them. Another good way is to visit your local zoo and nature museums.
Some snakes are protected by federal and/or state laws. Some are on the endangered or threatened species lists and some are just rare in the wild. These list change periodically, so if you are unsure, please contact your local conservation office. Even if the snake is not protected, it is best if you just leave it alone when they are not causing a problem.
Remember to stay a safe distance from the snake. Snakes usually strike about 1/2 their body length, but they can strike farther. You also don't want to trip and fall on the snake.
80% of all snake bites occur when someone tries to catch or kill a snake. The safest thing you can do if you see a snake is to leave it alone. (It's probably protected by law anyway.)
85% of all snake bites in the United States occur on the hand and forearm. 50% involve a victim under the age of 20. 70% of bites in the United States involve alcohol consumption.
If you have a snake in your yard, call someone trained in their removal or stand at a safe distance and spray it with a garden hose. Snakes hate that and will leave quickly.
Step on logs rather than over them. Snakes coil beside logs in the "Reinert Posture" and might mistake your leg for a predator or prey.
Watch where you put your hands and feet. Do not reach under boards with your fingers.
Snakes can be handled safely with proper tools and training, but do NOT risk trying to handle venomous snakes if you have not been professionally trained. There are things that no website can teach you about handling venomous snakes safely.
You can minimize the appeal of your yard to a snake by 1. cutting the grass, 2. picking up debris, and 3. Controlling rodents. If there is no food or shelter the snake will soon leave for better hunting grounds.
The safest thing to do if you see a snake is to LEAVE IT ALONE
Do remain calm - Remember that there is an excellent chance for survival, and in most cases there is plenty of time.
Do suck and squeeze - as much venom as possible directly from the wound. Venom is protein and can be taken orally with no ill effects.
Don't cut the wound - This almost always causes more damage than it's worth.
Don't use a tourniquet - This isolates the venom in a small area and causes the digestive enzymes in the venom to concentrate the damage.