How to tell Venomous vs Non-Venomous Snakes

Many people are afraid of snakes because they believe that all snakes are venomous, or they simply cannot tell which are and which aren’t so they would rather be safe than sorry. There are several myths out there of how to identify venomous snakes, however a lot of these are only true to maybe one species of venomous snakes and found in nonvenomous snakes as well. One of the most common misconceptions is that all venomous snakes have triangular heads and nonvenomous snakes have rounded heads. Many people who follow this rule could potentially put themselves in danger by approaching a venomous snake thinking it is non-venomous by head shape.

Snake on a porch deck
Snakes try to avoid open spaces as much as possible to remain undetected by potential predators.

Most venomous snakes are fatter snakes, nonvenomous snakes will typically have thinner bodies. The pupils of venomous snakes is also different from nonvenomous snakes, nonvenomous snakes will have rounded pupils, while venomous snakes have slits for pupils. Not that I recommend you get close enough to try and see this difference, but it is a tell-tale sign! A lot of nonvenomous snakes will mimic the rattle of a rattle snake as a defense, which works not only on predators but on people that try to mess with them as well.

Even if a snake is venomous, it will still typically only strike if it feels threatened. So, the best option is always to leave the snake alone. However, if there is a snake in the area that you want removed immediately, you should contact a professional to help you identify what kind of snake it is.